Volkswagen is in the early stages of developing an electric hatchback to undercut the compact ID.3 sold overseas, and a test mule has already been spotted.

The test mule is where engineers use the makeshift bodywork of an existing vehicle to hide the new mechanicals. In this case, they’re using the bodywork of the ID.3 – a vehicle that’s also about to be updated.

We know the test mule is for a smaller vehicle than the ID.3, with a shortened wheelbase and correspondingly shortened rear doors. Other differences visible on the test mule include a charging port on the passenger-side front fender. On the ID.3, the charging port is located on the rear fender on the passenger side.

The vehicle being tested is likely to be the subcompact electric car VW plans to launch in 2025. VW previewed a potential design for an electric car in 2021, the ID.Life concept, although the automaker has since ditched the concept’s boxy crossover design in favor of a sleeker hatchback.

Volkswagen Electric Subcompact Trailer

The 2022 teaser showed off the shape of the hatch, as well as related models from Volkswagen Group-owned brands Seat and Skoda. All three models will be produced at the Spanish plant, with the first expected in 2025. VW had previously mentioned that its version would start at around 20,000 euros (about $21,350), though that was before the ongoing inflation and energy crisis started.

While most rumors point to VW adopting the ID.2 name to mark the vehicle’s positioning below the ID.3, there’s also speculation that ID.Golf is one of the names being considered, and there might even be a sportier GTI version.

Thomas Schäfer, the current head of the VW brand, recently hinted that the Golf name was too good to pass up, and that it could potentially be used for the ID EV in a similar way to the ID.Buzz name. We might also see the ID.Tiguan name used for a new electric compact crossover that VW is also developing.

It’s unclear what kind of mechanical package VW has planned for its subcompact hatch, but the ID.Life concept has an electric motor on the front axle making 230 horsepower and a 57-kilowatt-hour battery in the floor that it says can Offers over 200 horsepower miles of range. We’ll likely see a boost in performance from the new hatchback, as Volkswagen is known to be planning an updated version of the MEB platform for its future mainstream EVs. The updated platform, dubbed MEB+, is designed around common batteries and will support charging at rates of up to 200 kilowatts.

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