On 02 September, the ID.R will face a very special kind of challenge on Tianmen Mountain in China: record-chaser Romain Dumas (F) will set a benchmark behind the wheel of the ID.R against which the competition will be able to try their luck. So far, no one has dared to master the extremely winding route up the mythical mountain in a racing car. With the ID.R, the racing ambassador of the future ID. product family, Volkswagen demonstrates its competence in the field of electrically powered vehicles – using motorsport as a test-field and stage. In just one year, Volkswagen set new records with the all-electric ID.R at Pikes Peak (USA), the Nürburgring Nordschleife (D) as well as the Goodwood Festival of Speed (GB). In this interview, Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management Volkswagen Passenger Cars, with responsibility for ‘Sales, Marketing and After Sales’, explains why the challenge in China is emblematic of the mobility change at Volkswagen.
Mr. Stackmann, the entire Volkswagen team is highly anticipating the ID.R’s appearance on the mythical Tianmen Mountain. What makes this so fascinating for you?
It is a very special challenge. Unlike the previous record drives, our team hardly knows the track and could not test in the simulator or on-site. I am looking forward to the record attempt, as the mountain has a special, mythical significance in Asia. For Volkswagen, the Chinese market is very important because we want to actively drive the electro-mobility strategy there at full throttle.
What is your aim with the record attempt on Tianmen Mountain?
With the ID.R we want to prove once again that electro-mobility is not only fun, but also extremely efficient and capable of high performance. Electro-mobility is emotive and fascinating: this is the clear message the ID.R is sending. We hope that Tianmen, with our benchmark, will become a place where electric vehicles compete regularly to reach new heights. The situation is similar with the production vehicles of the ID. family: we are convinced that the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) is unparalleled. It not only forms the basis of all future ID. vehicles, but it is also available to other vehicle manufacturers.
What role does the ID.R play in the development of the ID. production vehicles?
The ID.R is our electric racer that awakens emotions and captivates people under the spell of electro-mobility. It also dispels many common prejudices against e-mobility. Incidentally, a few months ago, we published the ‘12 myths of electro-mobility’ on our channels, which debunks these common prejudices. The ID.R is our ambassador for the future ID. production models, such as the ID.31, which will be officially presented at the 2019 IAA. But certainly, the ID.R also has a great importance for the technological transfer to production. For example, since the project began about two years ago, we have learned an incredible amount about e-mobility, software, battery management and charging technology, and we have also been able to use this knowledge for production development.
How do you assess the developments around electro-mobility?
It is not only an interesting and exciting time for me as a sales and marketing director, but for the entire car industry as well. It is great fun developing ideas and strategies with a brilliant team at the cutting edge of e-mobility to convince our customers – and those who will hopefully become them – that electric vehicles are the answer to the challenges of our time. They give great driving pleasure, and they offer advantages and features that we could have only dreamt of a few years ago: they provide more space with comparable external dimensions, they are quiet, very efficient, economical and inexpensive to maintain, and they give our designers completely new opportunities.
Can an electric car with a long range and plenty of space actually be fun to drive?
Without question. You just have to experience the feeling of acceleration in an electric car. Of course, we cannot transfer this like-for-like from the ID.R to the ID. production vehicles, as it generates 500 kW and thus far more than most customers want. But we know already that thanks to electric drive, much less power allows greater acceleration. But it is something you have to feel for yourself, otherwise you won’t believe it.
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