Video: Volkswagen Debuts Electric ID.7 Sedan at CES with Extremely Funky Digital Camouflage

The full production version won't debut for a few more months, but VW did share some details now

Volkswagen ID.7 CES reveal
(Images: Volkswagen)

After a six-year hiatus, Volkswagen returns to CES in Las Vegas with their all-new electric ID.7 sedan.

The German automaker teased its upcoming electric model after Christmas, and now we finally know what they’ve been hiding: the ID.7 sedan. It follows up on the brand’s MEB launches to date, including the overseas ID.3 hatchback and the ID.4 crossover, with a car to directly compete against the Tesla’s sedans and Hyundai Ioniq 6.

If you saw the ID.AERO concept last summer, then you already have a pretty good idea of what the production car will look like. Volkswagen promises no fewer than 10 new electric launches between now and 2026, and the ID.7 represents the brand’s ambitions to, per CEO Thomas Schäfer, “deliver suitable products for our customers in every single segment.”

Despite signs over the past several years that sedans aren’t where the meat of the market’s at, several automakers still seem keen to carry forward that more conventional option into the brave new electric era. To make this reveal live for you a bit more, however, VW made the effort to create a digital camouflage that actively lights up “interactively”. By that, the automaker applied at least 40 layers of unique paint, some of which are electrically conductive. The electrified layers beneath the top layer of paint create 22 lighting zones that can be separately controlled to show off various aspects of the car — in rhythm, when connected to a sound system.

What do we know about the actual car, though?

Though Volkswagen did make the effort to create a unique and cool-looking camouflage, technical details about the upcoming ID.7 are still thin on the ground. The production version debut will happen in the second quarter of 2023, and the company remains coy about some of the more crucial aspects you’d want to learn about.

However, VW did say the ID.7 will pack a range of up to 700 kilometers (435 miles), per the European WLTP standard. EPA figures for North American models tend to be far less optimistic, so we’d expect the ID.7 to land somewhere in the mid- to upper 300’s. If that is indeed the case, then the new ID.7 will be competitive with Tesla on range. The car uses VW’s modular electric drive matrix (MEB) platform and rides on a 116.9-inch wheelbase, or about the same as a Tesla Model S.

Inside, the upcoming Volkswagen ID.7 packs familiar tech to those who have already been following the brand’s EVs. You do get a few new touches, though, including a 15-inch center display, with what may be some notable tweaks to what’s been, in my experience at least, a fussy infotainment display. The ID.7 also brings in an augmented reality head-up display, bringing traffic sign recognition, real-time navigation instructions and other crucial driving information into the driver’s field of view on the windshield.

Like many other current EVs, Volkswagen is also ditching physically movable air vents for a digitally controlled setup:

At the moment, this pre-production Volkswagen ID.7 does still have capactive touch buttons throughout the interior, including on the steering wheel. Schäfer said the company would eventually revert to physical buttons on the steering wheel, though it’s unclear at the moment whether that will actually happen for the production ID.7.

We’ll have more updates in the next few months, leading up to the customer-bound car’s reveal. If it debuts in Q2 2023, then we may see it on sale before the end of the year or in early 2024, depending on the ID. Buzz’s actual launch timing. When it does ultimately launch, the new Volkswagen ID.7 will be on sale in North America, Europe and China.

Check out our video from CES 2023!