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VW aims to dethrone the Tesla Model 3 with its long-ranging ID.7 electric sedan

The ID.7 is a big, beefy sedan that comes in two battery sizes with a best-in-class range estimate. But can Volkswagen make sedans cool again?

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Image: VW

Volkswagen is pulling the cover off the ID.7 flagship electric vehicle that aims to rescue the sedan from the dustbin of vehicle history. After teasing it at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, the ID.7 is making its official debut at the Shanghai Auto Show today.

VW is still keeping some key details under wraps; crucially, we still don’t know how much it will cost. That will help answer the question as to whether the ID.7 can dethrone the Tesla Model 3 as one of the top-selling EVs in the world. Sales of the ID.7 will start in China later this year, followed by the US in 2024.

As a sedan, the ID.7 has a lot going for it, including a roomy interior, impressive aerodynamics, and a healthy amount of range. An 86kWh battery is expected to propel the ID.7 to approximately 700 kilometers (435 miles) of range based on the WLTP standard, while the smaller 77kWh battery can get a respectable 615km (382 miles). (The EPA-based range will likely be less.)


The ID.7 will be able to take a lot more charge than VW’s ID.4 crossover SUV. While that EV can accept up to 125kW of DC fast charging, the ID.7 can take up to 170kW of fast charging, while the later ID.7 Pro S version will be able to accept 200kW. The ID.7 will also have a more powerful drivetrain than the ID.4, able to churn out 282 horsepower as compared to the latter’s 201 hp.

The ID.7 is based on the ID Aero concept, which was revealed last year as a model destined for production in China. Like the concept, the new EV will be built on VW’s modular electric drive matrix (MEB), which also undergirds other ID models, like the ID.4 and ID Buzz. And it will feature an ultra-low drag coefficient of 0.235, which puts it on par with the luxury electric German autos, like the BMW i4 and Mercedes-Benz EQS. The next-gen MEB will serve as a platform for the ID.2all, a more affordable, sub-$27,000 hatchback EV.

The ID.7 also has the potential to pick up the mantle from the Passat, which has struggled to keep up with the larger, heavier vehicles in VW’s lineup. The Arteon presents as a souped-up Passat, which could open the door for sportier intentions from the ID.7. Perhaps we’ll get an R-Line version somewhere down the line.

And while it may be a sedan, it’s still larger than a Passat or Arteon. The ID.7 is 195.3 inches (4,961mm) long, riding on a 116.8in (2,966mm) wheelbase. A 532-liter luggage compartment should be ample room for passengers and cargo alike. And the ID.7 is 73.3in (1,862mm) wide (without exterior mirrors) and 60.6in (1,538mm) tall, giving it an overall shape that is longer and taller than a Tesla Model 3. 

Two battery sizes and a silhouette that outclasses the Tesla Model 3

Some of the biggest updates can be found inside the ID.7, where VW has reimagined its cockpit design to include an augmented reality heads-up display. The digital gauge cluster is embedded in the dashboard behind the steering wheel. And physical buttons are continuing to be a thing of the past, with VW routing most of its controls through a central touchscreen (despite customers repeatedly expressing their preference for more tactile controls).

The 15-inch landscape-oriented screen has a brand-new menu system that keeps heating and cooling controls as well as seat ventilation on display at all times. Haptic sliders beneath the screen control the temperature, while a heated steering wheel can be turned on using voice activation.

The ID.7’s sleek shape is designed to reduce drag, improve energy consumption, and give the vehicle a longer stride than others in its class. The shape is unique in another important way: it’s a sedan. While most American automakers have eliminated sedans from their lineup in favor of heavier, higher-riding trucks and SUVs, European and Asian auto companies are continuing to churn out new versions in the hopes of winning over customers who still prefer a smaller vehicle.