it's all about the batteries, baby

VW’s Electric Sports Car Could Have a Secret Weapon Against Tesla


March 15, 2020 Cars By
Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Up until now, Tesla has largely been the only game in town when it comes to offering a wide variety of electric cars. Other carmakers — Porsche, Audi, Jaguar and GM, to name a few — have begun edging into the EV space, but none of them have offered the plethora of options that Elon Musk’s automaker has. Volkswagen’s forthcoming electric car onslaught is poised to change that, however; the company plans to sell 1.5 million EVs over the next five years, thanks to the arrival of a wide variety of different models all sold under the ID sub-brand.

And now we’ve learned the centerpiece of VW’s ID rollout might be an electric sports car packing special new battery tech to help give it an edge over Tesla.

According to Autocar, which cites “highly placed” sources inside Volkswagen, the ID R sports car will be based off the same basic MEB platform that’s set to serve as the backbone of most of VW’s ID fleet. With the chassis able to accept electric motors on the front and/or rear axles, the ID R could conceivable be engineered with all-wheel-drive, giving it extreme EV acceleration like the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan offer.

Of course, as those cars prove, squeezing extreme performance from electric motors is nothing new. Where the VW ID R sports car could have an advantage is in the big chunk of metal and chemicals that holds the power for them. Volkswagen is reportedly leveraging what it learned with its groundbreaking, record-breaking ID R sports car — the car that ran up Pikes Peak in less than eight minutes and lapped the Nurburgring Nordschleife in barely more than six — to create performance-optimized batteries for the new sporty EV road cars.

“We are beginning to work on the first batteries for the performance road cars, using the dedicated team from the ID R, so there will be a direct link between them,” VW motorsport director Sven Smeets said, according to Autocar.

Volkswagen R performance car division boss Jost Capito elaborated, explaining that the company can use different methods of battery construction and different types of chemical mixes in the batteries themselves for high-performance machines than they would for more conventional vehicles.

“There are different demands on a performance car than a road car, and we’re looking at all aspects to see what we can do with the technology,” he said. “We’ve seen how it works in the ID R and now we want to see how it looks in a road car.”

Note that Smeets said road cars, plural. The ID R range may be led by a Tesla Roadster-fighting sports car in the middle of the next decade, but it’s also expected to expand into high-performance variants of the other ID vehicles. In other words, much the way the Golf range is topped by a Golf R, the ID.3 hatchback’s range will likely be capped by a sporty, all-electric ID.3 R down the line.

Even better: that technology, presumably, will find its way to other EVs made across the VW Group — electric Porsche Boxsters, Caymans and Macans, battery-powered Bentleys, and advanced Audis.

Today in Gear

The best way to catch up on the day’s most important product releases and stories. Read the Story
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

More by Will Sabel Courtney | Follow on Instagram · Twitter · Contact via Email
Sign Up for Gear Patrol Newsletters
Useful product reviews, work-from-home tips
and expert advice in your inbox daily.

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy and to receive email correspondence from us.