Economy, Auto

VW to Unveil Self-Driving Minibus

VW to Unveil Self-Driving MinibusVW to Unveil Self-Driving Minibus

Volkswagen will unveil a concept for a self-driving electric minibus at the Detroit auto show next month as the automaker prepares to challenge Uber with its new Moia mobility services division.

The vehicle will have a roomy interior, long range and will be able to drive fully autonomously, VW said in a statement today, Automotive News reports.

VW released teaser pictures of the vehicle, which is the second concept in its ID family of fully connected electric cars. The first ID concept was a Golf-sized electric hatchback premiered at the Paris show in September.

The Detroit concept is based on VW’s new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) like the Paris show car. One of the pictures released by VW shows that it has an upright front end reminiscent of the automaker’s iconic Microbus van.

The concept has two electric motors and all-wheel drive. Its steering wheel retracts into the dashboard when activated via a touch sensitive pad to launch the self-driving functions.

“While the driver relaxes, laser scanners, ultrasonic and radar sensors and cameras monitor other road users and the surroundings,” VW said.

Like the Paris ID concept, the Detroit car show will have a spacious multi-functional, flexible interior, the automaker said.

VW unveiled the Moia digital business division earlier this month. The division’s CEO. Ole Harms, said Moia’s focus is to launch a shuttle service operating in cities that will be hailed by a smart phone app. Moia’s fleets will use existing VW Group models such as the VW Transporter minibus but these will be eventually replaced by a new electric vehicle with six to eight seats, Harms said.

Volkswagen Group plans to bring out 30 battery-powered cars by 2025 and forecasts that its EV sales by that time will be between two and three million units, about 25% of its global sales, in line with EVs’ projected share of the global new-car market.

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