Volkswagen claims its ID.7 electric flagship will boast a WLTP range of 700km due to its sophisticated aerodynamics and brand-new drive system.
The near-production-ready concept car has a more sporty shape than its ID.4 SUV saloon stablemate with a sloping roofline, pointy nose, sleek LED headlights and a full-width LED strip across the bonnet. There’s no pseudo grille here either, just some slim air intakes in the lower bumper to help cool the battery.
The aero is one of the key factors in unlocking the efficiency of the five-metre-long VW limousine. The German carmaker says that the body shape accounts for about 50 per cent of the drag, meanwhile, the wheels, tyres, underfloor, and functional openings make up the rest, in that order.
Volkswagen designer Daniel Scharfschwerdt said: “When designing the ID.7, there was a greater focus on aerodynamics than for practically any other model. This can be seen in the low front end, the flowing transition into the bonnet, and the fast windscreen. The coupé-like roof form and the tapering rear end are also designed for ideal aerodynamic performance.”
Even in the early stages of product development, intensive work was carried out on the exterior design, as well as on the underbody, wheels and other fine details. The prerequisite for optimal results is close collaboration between developers and designers.
Stephan Lansmann, project engineer responsible for ID.7 aerodynamics: “We strive for ideal solutions in an iterative process, which includes regular consultation between the Development and Design departments. There are many small steps here that pay off in the end. Numerous computer simulations for flow calculation are complemented by tests in a wind tunnel as part of this process.”
The ID.7 has an almost completely closed underbody. This is supplemented by newly developed wheel spoilers on the front wheels. These guide the air along the wheels under the vehicle with minimum turbulence.
The initial focus is on computer simulations. “Work only takes place virtually in the first year of development, with updates about every two weeks,” says Lansmann. The design team supplies CAD (Computer-Aided Design) data. Several thousand processors then calculate the airflow values, also for numerous details like the flush-recessed door handles and the aerodynamically designed mirrors of the ID.7. “We go into the wind tunnel only when the design is stable. That can take a good one and a half years from the start of development,” says the development engineer.
The team used Volkswagen clay models in the original size of the ID.7 in the wind tunnel. The new findings are implemented on the model using a milling cutter with millimetre precision – for example, in the event of changes to the rear and to the separation edges.
With the help of the prototype parts from the 3D printer, Stephan Lansmann’s team tested numerous variants – also for the aerodynamically shaped exterior mirrors, for example. On the ID.7, this process allowed them to optimise the upper and lower mirror housing sections and mirror base to achieve a lower drag coefficient with outstanding aerodynamic properties.
The result of this detailed work is a drag coefficient value of 0.23, the best drag coefficient of the entire Volkswagen ID. family.
When the ID.7 concept was first revealed back in 2018, VW sought to give the production car a maximum range of 530 kilometres. However, with battery technology making leaps and bounds at a breakneck pace, combined with the German company’s design team, the car now looks to provide one of the best WLTP range to offer, when it becomes available on the market. Although when will it become available is still a guessing game.