The latest from the Shanghai auto show

The latest from the Shanghai auto show

Volkwagen's ID Crozz electric crossover concept has been unveiled at the 2017 Shanghai auto show. "Production will start in 2020", said Herbert Diess, chairman of the VW brand's board of management, in a statement.

A total of 507,000 electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell cars were sold in China in 2016, a 53 percent surge year-on-year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Dubbed MEB by Volkswagen, it is the group's third pure battery-electric vehicle architecture, along with Porsche's Mission E and an electric SUV to sit on the J1 architecture, and Audi's standalone layout called C-BEV.

Volkswagen is far from the only automaker pursuing electric SUVs.

Volkswagen intends to put the I.D. Crozz into production by the year 2020 followed by other production versions of the I.D. family. Industry officials and experts reckon tightening fuel efficiency regulations through 2020 will compel vehicle makers to rely more on electrification to boost average fuel efficiency despite the drop-off in subsidies. It offers on-demand all-wheel drive, but the bigger rear motor gives it more of a rear-drive feel. The range on the not-very-accurate NEDC testing cycle is reportedly 311 miles per full charge - so, a decent real-world range, even if nowhere near 311 miles. To support the growth of its NEV line-up, GM has built a battery assembly plant in Shanghai which should be ready to deliver battery packs next year.

A full charge gives a range in excess of 300 miles - as much as on a petrol-engined auto - and the ID Crozz can be charged up to 80% capacity from a fast charger in just 30 minutes.

Although the I.D. Crozz is a crossover, its roofline is much lower than that a Tiguan. The vehicle also delivers a tight turning circle for its segment, at about 34.5 feet.

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The crossover body style takes hints of the current wave of coupe sports SUVs but has been created to deliver genuine off-road ability. First came the Volkswagen I.D. hatchback concept, then the I.D. Buzz, a tribute to the classic VW Microbus.

At 182.1 ins. (4,625 mm) inches in length, 74.5 ins.(1,892 mm) in width and 63.3 ins. Buzz concepts, the Crozz carries minimal exterior adornment, with the exception of strong haunches above the wheel arches.

Lighting is a big part of the I.D. series and Volkswagen is using it to emphasize the near-future appeal of the vehicles and inject some personality. Delivery drivers can use Global Positioning System to locate the vehicle and can be granted temporary permission to open the boot via an app.

A mix between a four-door coupe and a sports utility vehicle, the new I.D. Crozz SUV is the third model which will be sold under the I.D. sub-brand.

As well as acting as a showcase for Volkswagen's future electric driveline technology, the I.D. Crozz also highlights the sort of autonomous driving features that are likely to begin appearing on the company's more up-market models within the next decade. The headlights feature C-shaped daytime running lights and five LED strips that create interactive, moving "eyes" - they enable the auto to communicate with other road users in autonomous driving mode, and greet the driver as they approach the vehicle.

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