Home » Even Volkswagen’s Top Designer Doesn’t Know Why ID Cars Don’t Have A Frunk: Also, An ID.7 Prototype Drive

Even Volkswagen’s Top Designer Doesn’t Know Why ID Cars Don’t Have A Frunk: Also, An ID.7 Prototype Drive

Wtf Vw Frunk Id7
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It is one of life’s great mysteries, along with where the lost treasure of El Dorado disappeared to, and whether Han or Greedo shot first. I’m talking about why the heck Volkswagen doesn’t put frunks in its ID electric cars. After a quick spin in the upcoming 2025 Volkswagen ID.7 at the IAA Mobility show in Munich—more on that in a second—I posed the question to VW’s head of design, Andreas Mindt.

Here’s what he had to say: “The problem with the frunk is, or let’s say the challenge is, how you handle that,” Mindt told me.“You have to open the first door and then walk around and put something in the frunk. That’s a lot of effort. Why to do that? When you have a little backpack I’d rather put it on the rear seat. It’s easier.”

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom
Frunk not found on the ID.4. Photo: Jason Torchinsky

Frankly, I have a hard time believing this answer. I mean, what, there’s no frunk because essentially consumers are lazy? I pressed him a bit and he eventually relented a tad.

“What do you want to do with the frunk?” he said. “For what do you need that? I know the discussion with the cable, you can store the cable… I was not involved in the development (of the ID.4/7). I can’t tell you why.”

Gah! Torch only wanted me to ask one question here in Munich and I’m coming home without the answer. Well, without a good answer, anyways. Please keep hiring me, Autopian!

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Rewind about 45 minutes and I’m in a camouflaged ID.7 pulling 182 kilometers per hour—about 114 miles per hour—on the Autobahn. This is a few clicks over the supposed top speed of the all-electric mid-size sedan, but it still feels stable whisking down in the left-hand lane. 

The ID.7 in production spec. Photo:VW

Although the 2025 ID.7 will be available in all-wheel drive when it makes its way here to the States next summer, I’m driving the rear-wheel drive version. I’ve got 282 ponies and 400 or so torques under my right foot, with power being stored in an 82 kWh battery. Volkswagen says that the battery can store enough electrons for 435 miles of range on the generous WLTP European cycle, though that number will likely drop when our own EPA gets a hold of it. Drivers will be able to shove power into the battery at a DC fast-charging station at speeds of up to 200 kW.

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Photo: Emme Hall

My drive isn’t the longest, but I still get a chance to try out a few features, including a new and very much improved infotainment system. I’m happy to report that the touch HVAC temperature and volume control sliders we all love to hate in the ID4 are backlit here in the ID.7. My drive is during the day, but cupping my hand around the sliders confirms they are indeed visible in the dark. Hallelujah. 

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Photo: Emme Hall

Also on tap is a 15-inch infotainment screen, customizable three ways to Sunday. Always visible, a bar at the top can be customized to display shortcuts to most apps while the HVAC controls are on the bottom bar.

Volkswagen Id.7
Photo: VW

Well, almost all of them. If I want to change the direction of the vents, I need to tap the Climate icon and use the screen. It’s distracting and annoying, to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. 

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Photo: VW

The home screen residing between the two narrow bars top and bottom is also customizable. Drivers can decide just what information they want displayed and where. I choose a big tile for navigation and smaller tiles for state of charge and for IDA, Volkswagen’s voice assistant. Tell her your hands are cold and she’ll turn on the heated steering wheel and angle the vents just so, but I just ask her to turn on the massaging seats. Oh, she’ll also tell you a joke if you ask her, but I wouldn’t recommend it. She was, after all, programmed by Germans.

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Photo: Emme Hall

There is no traditional gauge cluster in the ID.7, just a small digital rectangle behind the steering wheel. This displays a numerical speed reading, state of charge and a few other pieces of information, but there is more on the head-up display. Unfortunately, my prescription sunglasses are polarized and even at the brightest setting it’s really hard to see. 

Volkswagen Id.7
Photo: VW

The ID.7 is outfitted with augmented reality to help with navigation. In the head-up display—I’ve taken off my sunglasses and I’m squinting—an overlay arrow appears at the corner where I am supposed to turn. As I approach the corner, the overlay gets bigger, appearing to move towards me. However, it’s not consistent. It flashes every 50 meters or so and I find that instead of looking at the road and any oncoming traffic, I’m looking at the flashing icon. This might take me a while to get used to.

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Photo: Emme Hall

I also sample Volkswagen’s hands-on level 2 semi-autonomous driving system Travel Assist. This camera-based system uses lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control to keep the ID.7 centered in the lane, even taking information from the navigation system to prepare for turns and changing speed limits. However, it doesn’t work so great on this narrow country road and I only keep it engaged for a few minutes. Seems too dodgy. 

Volkswagen Id.7
Photo: VW

Although I don’t actually program the GPS, the native navigation system seems a little wonky. My drive route was supposed to take me from the autobahn through the countryside and back to home base. When I miss a turn, the nav system has me turn around– so far so good– but then bypasses the missed turn and takes me back to home base via the autobahn. Look, I’m not going to complain about getting a second chance to drive as fast as I want, but it was definitely not the intended route. Fortunately wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on hand for Waze or Google Maps duties. 

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The adaptive suspension here is pretty great, with a definite swing between comfort and sport modes. What’s cool is I can really dial in the stiffness of the shocks over 15, yes 15 different levels. The system labels Comfort at level 4 and Sport at level 12, but there is still room to go softer or stiffer on either side. 

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Photo: Emme Hall

The steering here feels quick and responsive, with enough heft in Sport mode to satisfy. I especially like the small turning radius, helpful when I have to park the car in an outdoor courtyard with tables full of media folks chatting away while I perilously execute a sharp u-turn in their midst. 

The ID.7 lets me coast when lifting off the throttle like a traditional ICE vehicle, but by twisting the gear selector to B I can get some brake regen when I lift. However, one of the great joys in life is stuffing that battery with free electrons and I wish Volkswagen gave me more regen levels to choose from. Further, anyone who has driven an EV with one-pedal driving in stop-and-go traffic knows that it slaps. In B mode the car will slow almost to a stop, but doesn’t quite get there. It’s a pity the ID.7 won’t comply. 

Volkswagen Id.4 1st Edition Uk Version 2021 1600 3d
The hated switches on the ID.7. Photo: VW

Oh, and before I forget, Volkswagen is still using the Patented Two-Button-Instead-of-Four-Window-Opener-Controller-Thingy. (Editor’s Note: I just let out an audible exhausted sigh. -PG) Unlike most vehicles with a button to control each window, the ID.7, like the ID4, has two window controls and a button marked Rear. To roll down the rear windows, one must remember to push that Rear button first. Good thing I don’t have enough friends to fill the back seat.

Photo: VW

Volkswagen has been a bit slow to get electrified cars into its North American fleet—the only thing you can buy right now is the ID.4—but the ID.7 will make a nice addition. There is plenty of power on tap here and the new infotainment screen is much easier to use than what we’ve seen in the ID.4. I would like to have one on Autopian’s home turn to play around a bit more with the Travel Assist, but in all the ID.7 looks to be able to go head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq 6, and that’s no small feat.

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The ID.7 is one of 10 new electric models Volkswagen promises to have worldwide by 2026. No word on pricing but considering the ID.7 will replace VW’s flagship Arteon sedan, we expect to see an MSRP of around $50,000—frunk not included.

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Scott
Scott
10 days ago

Re: Germans telling jokes: have you not heard/of Henning Wehn? He’s the best thing about many BBC chat/panel/quiz shows. 😀

This car doesn’t interest me much personally… I’ve had a few VWs including a TDI Golf for more than two decades, and I think I’ve had my fill of their running costs when they get older. I’m a bit curious about the ID2 aka new eGolf maybe, but if/when it ever comes to the states, I’m sure it’ll be too pricey for what it is, and it’ll probably still have those power window brackets made of nylon which break two months after the warranty expires, dropping the glass into the door. Getting a dealer to fix this was the better part of $500 per window over a decade ago, or you can do what I did (three times thus far) and follow the 120+ step instructions at tdiclub.com and do it yourself. Knowing VW, I bet they’re still using those cheap brackets on this ID7, instead of the metal ones in the replacement window regulator kit.

I can’t be the ONLY ONE who would like manufacturers to offer their camouflage wraps as an option on new cars, right? Most are way more interesting than the small palette of grey/black/white/silver/and a token blue or red offered.

But thanks for your comprehensive review Emme! Great job! 🙂

Last edited 10 days ago by Scott
Hgrunt
Hgrunt
13 days ago

The most likely reason for the VW ID cars’ lack of frunk is the Turning Circle

With no frunk, the front end can be shorter and suspension geometry can be designed to give them very small turning circles.

The AWD ID4 and ID7 have a turning circles of ~34ft, while the RWD ID4 has a turning circle of 30ft. For comparison, a Kia Rio’s turning circle is 32 ft

The frunk-equipped 3/Y and Mach Es have a much larger turning circle of 40 feet

Market preferences play a role, too. People in the US want storage over maneuverability because parking spaces are big, roads are wide, and use cars for things where storage is important, like big shopping errands, road trips, etc. In Europe and Asia, parking is tight and roads are narrow, so maneuverability gets prioritized

It’s also harder to market a tight turning radius as a killer feature, because who cares about that, while frunks are currently a new and novel feature, so “Oh shiny!”

Bryn Jones
Bryn Jones
12 days ago
Reply to  Hgrunt

I get what you’re saying, but I really don’t think it’s quite accurate.
They showed in some of the previous articles that these cars do have space for a drink, even with the tight turning radius, they just didn’t fit an actual liner to make the space usable.

I’m also not sure that EU cars have a tighter turning radius than US market cars. The vast majority of EU market cars have been FWD for a long time, which really tends to hamper the turning radius.

Myk El
Myk El
13 days ago

If I want to change the direction of the vents, I need to tap the Climate icon and use the screen. It’s distracting and annoying, to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. 

You were far more polite about this than I would have been. I’ll put on the “Good Place” filter, though. Holy forking shirtballs is that bad decision. Anyone involved in this decision needs to no longer be working in the automotive industry.

Hgrunt
Hgrunt
13 days ago
Reply to  Myk El

It’s something I’m torn on…

On the one hand, it gives a cleaner looking dashboard, and they can set it lower and further back to make the interior feel more spacious

On the other hand, it can be very fiddly to adjust, especially while driving, even after getting the muscle memory to go into the menu

I’m sure there is, or will be an SAE white paper that compares how long it takes to adjust a vent register manually vs doing it on a touch screen

Raven65
Raven65
13 days ago

$50k? Nope.

Anoos
Anoos
13 days ago

It’s funny that automakers still think they need to ‘camouflage’ new models when out testing.

Everything looks the same. I can’t pick out my midsized silver SUV from models from midsized silver SUVs from other manufacturers.

All auto manufacturers could send all their mules / prototypes out on public roads with no camo and nobody would even notice. There’d be three bloggers posting pictures and then four European auto blogs claiming the cars were evidence of an 8000hp version of the car that would be released any day.

Andreas8088
Andreas8088
13 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

I was coming here to post the same thing. The only reason someone would notice that car is BECAUSE of the camo. 😀

Hgrunt
Hgrunt
13 days ago
Reply to  Anoos

The purpose of camo isn’t to hide the fact the car exists or blend it into the background, but rather to make it difficult to tell what make/model it is, when seen in isolation. It also hides smaller details like styling, panel gaps, bumper shapes, unfinished trim, etc.

Prototypes are thrown together and don’t have good final fit-and-finish because production and parts aren’t finalized, so mfgs don’t want to give off the impression the final revealed car will also be badly assembled

Case in point: Most Cybertruck prototypes aren’t camo’d and people are already pointing out the terrible fit-and-finish even though they’re looking at preproduction prototypes.

Personally, I think the coolest-looking test mule was the Mercedes SLS AMG. It looks like someone turned a 3rd Gen Viper convertible into a 240Z, complete with round sealed beam headlights on the front

Anoos
Anoos
12 days ago
Reply to  Hgrunt

Drive it around Michigan and paint any questionable areas to look like rust. Nobody would ever notice.

As for the Cyber truck, Musk is the one complaining about the tolerances, and that’s a guy who has been proudly selling Teslas for years.

Rafael Ruivo
Rafael Ruivo
13 days ago

So what, this guy doesn’t see the point of front pockets if he has a backpack?

Andy the Swede
Andy the Swede
13 days ago

Frunk or no frunk is just a matter of packaging. If you go with off the shelf material and do not optimize cabling etc, this will effect how slim you can make the design.

As for the horrible HVAC solution, that is another anxious design director that forgot about what car design is really about just because everything needs to be Tesla…

Torque
Torque
11 days ago
Reply to  Andy the Swede

So… vw saves a few euros by eliminating 2 fucking switches (and some wiring) in the driver’s door for the back windows
And…
Eliminates the ability to manually adjust air vents in the dash & instead spends euros (added cost) by adding adjusting these to a software program + motors & wiring in the dash
Both are changes in consumer behavior that at best are lateral different choices and at worst people are going to hate, Brilliant!

Andy the Swede
Andy the Swede
6 days ago
Reply to  Torque

Exactly! You will have the air vent “experience” you never asked for.

Matti Sillanpää
Matti Sillanpää
13 days ago

I personally prefer that the car design aimed to maximize the interior and trunk volume. If frunk is the victim, I’m fine with that.

I know people like to say that it’s for the cables, but what the heck do you guys do with the cables if you have to move them everywhere? I’ve personally had an EV fro 5 months and 15tkm now and I mostly charge at home with 11kw charger, and I haven’t take the regular cables out of the car once. On road trips the public chargers have their own cables.

I need car for hauling people, kid and large objects + occasionally tow building supplies or crap to recycling. So give me wagon with huge trunk, 5 comfy seats, quiet interior and low slung profile for good range.

Torque
Torque
11 days ago

I agree with your overall statement.
I think it is a false duality to say it is an either or situation.
In the US each of the primary ev start ups (Tesla, Rivian & Lucid) have been able to deliver vehicles to market with front trunks and still have roomy interiors.
I suspect this is rare with legacy auto makers even on what are supposed to be clean sheet ev only designed vehicles bc they are trying (or being forced by their leadership or accounting dept.) to continue to use existing systems from existing tier 2 suppliers.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
13 days ago

> You have to open the first door and then walk around and put something in the frunk

Whut

You just pop the frunk, toss your things in, then open the door and get in the car.

You know, like a trunk. Just in front.

Wgn_luv
Wgn_luv
13 days ago
Reply to  Harvey Park

VWs currently don’t have a way to open the hood with a key. You’ve to open it manually from within the cabin. That’s what he’s referring to without realizing it can easily be a one-step process if they treated it like the trunk/boot at the back.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
12 days ago
Reply to  Wgn_luv

I’m surprised the controls aren’t buried in the touch screen controls tbh

Space
Space
13 days ago

Was going to mention the mind boggling idea of what they did to the vents but others have it covered.
It makes no sense it won’t even save them money.

Josh
Josh
13 days ago

I’m sorry guys – I love this site but you need to do a better job proofreading and editing. I caught no fewer than 5 typos and grammatical errors in this article. Snarky editor comments are great and all but make sure you’re actually editing the article first please.
Carry on. ????

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
13 days ago

“I’ve got 282 ponies and 400 or so torques under my right foot…”

“I’m in a camouflaged ID.7 pulling 182 kilometers per hour—about 114 miles per hour—on the Autobahn. This is a few clicks over the supposed top speed of the all-electric mid-size sedan”

282 HP/400ft-lbs only gets you 110mph? Why is it so limited, especially in Germany?

Last edited 13 days ago by Cheap Bastard
Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
13 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Typically due to a few reasons:
1) the motors don’t make full power at their highest speed and are geared lower anyway since you’ve only got a single gear ratio to put the efficiency sweet spot where its used most for driving.
2) Tires designed around high efficiency and low rolling resistance typically aren’t rated for a lot of speed, thus requiring a limiter.
3) 282 HP is 210 kW, and with an 80 kW-hr pack that means a sustained discharge rate of over 2.6C. The more energy-dense chemistries used for EVs can do this in a short bursts, but not once they start to get more discharged. In fact, 210 kW is probably only at 100% SOC when you have the highest pack voltage – this will drop as the pack voltage goes down as the battery discharges (and “settles” into it’s continuous discharging voltage, which is lower than the open-circuit voltage at a given SOC and is dependent on the current draw, but can take 20-40 seconds or so to occur). At 2.6C you’re probably losing 15%-20% of that power to heat in the battery, motor, invertor etc too, so you’re really discharging the battery considerably faster while actually delivering less power to the wheels.
4) The battery & motor cooling systems can’t keep up with sustained high power operation since they’re typically sized much smaller than ICE vehicles. A lot of the reason that they’re smaller is that for most driving you can rely on the thermal mass of the battery and motors to absorb normal heat loads in a way that you really can’t with an ICE, but also larger heat exchangers don’t really help as much when you have less than half the difference in temperature between coolant and ambient, plus EVs are even more sensitive to aerodynamic losses than ICE vehicles are. Thats why they need to rely on the vehicle’s on-board AC or heat pumps, to increase that difference in temperature on both sides (cold, low-P refrigerant to coolant & hot, high-P refrigerant to ambient), but the size of available electric components for this is very limiting, meaning the battery has no choice but to heat up quickly.
5) Lastly, the battery can only be allowed to get to 45-50C or so before the cell’s lifetime capacity is impacted, so that quickly puts an end to full-power runs.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
13 days ago

Thanks for the detailed informative reply. This makes sense. Its just strange seeing a modern car with that much rated power struggle to match the top end performance of my old TR3 which had a questionable 110HP/117ft-lbs and the not so slick aerodynamics of a crashed aerofoil.

It was a lot lighter though.

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
13 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Well, aerodynamics is king for top speed, and your TR3 probably had less than half the frontal area of this VW too, even with worse Cd that’ll still help

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
13 days ago

That frontal area was mostly a grilled funnel into the engine bay and a not very raked windscreen so whatever its Cd was I imagine it wasn’t good. Otherwise it was an airfoil whose lift became very noticeable anywhere near top speed.

Jb996
Jb996
10 days ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Electronically limited.
And it’s likely she Emme was going 110mph as advertised.. All German car speedometers read slightly faster than actual. In US, speedometers read actual+/- 2-3mph error. German rules are that speedometers cannot read slower than actual, so acknowledging that there will be error, they are calibrated to read over actual. So 112-113 on speedo is likely 110 mph actual.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 days ago
Reply to  Jb996

Why would it be electronically limited to 110mph in a country with autobahns?

Jonathan Myers
Jonathan Myers
14 days ago

I know why I like to put things like a backpack in the frunk – thieves can’t see it and if they can’t see it, they won’t break a side window and grab it out of the back seat of my car. I guess they don’t have smash and grabs in Germany. It is just as easy to put something in the frunk as the trunk.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
13 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan Myers

You make too much sense, even for Germans.

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