You probably remember the old Jerry Seinfeld routine about ridiculous car names.
“Integrity? No, Inte-grah.”
In a just world, Volkswagen’s naming policy for its electric concept cars would see the company hauled before the courts on charges of crimes against the English language. However, it’s mainly a free world, and we’ll just have to grin and bear the fact that VW’s latest concept calls itself the I.D. Vizzion — surely the worst name in a line of upcoming cars that started with the I.D. and moved on to the I.D. Crozz and I.D. Buzz.
Occupants of the
Vision Vizzion, should it one day become reality, won’t ever use their hands for steering, but they’ll certainly use them to talk to the car.
Having already previewed its electric product future, the Vizzion is VW’s attempt at showing the next step beyond electric driving. In this case, electric self-driving vehicles which, depending on whose prediction you believe, are either a near-future certainty or a long-off pipe dream. When that time does does arrive, VW believes you’ll communicate with your car’s operating system (a “virtual chauffeur” or “virtual host”) using Minority Report-style hand gestures and your voice.
The host, according to a video posted to Twitter Monday, appears as a shapeless hologram. No doubt this is to prevent freak-outs. While future vehicles might not contain human drivers, occupants probably prefer their driving companions remain rooted in the physical realm.
Featuring a lounge-type interior with clamshell-style doors for easy ingress and egress, the Vizzion concept — a “premium class saloon,” according to VW — is said to pack two electric motors drawing juice from a massive 111 kWh battery pack. Power amounts to a combined 301 horsepower, with a claimed range of 413 miles. All of these powertrain elements are rooted in the here and now; it’s the autonomous systems (and the car’s legality) that hails from the future.
What makes the Vizzion different from other self-driving concepts is VW’s, ahem, vision of the car’s passengers. While autonomous cars, once perfected and approved for public use, can carry anyone or anything, VW specifically mentions the Vizzion’s ability to ferry those who can’t drive. We’ve become used to seeing self-driving cars pitched to the slackers and workaholics of tomorrow; this may be the first time an automaker has singled out elderly people without driver’s licenses.
In the Vizzion, Ma and Pa Kettle can speed to appointments or their great-grandchildren’s birthdays at a top speed of 112 miles per hour. Of course, that’s if various levels of government and infrastructure quality allows.
Expect to see the concept appear at next week’s Geneva Motor Show.