The design of the Volkswagen I.D. hatchback has been approved and will stay true to the concept that was first seen in 2016, according to Autocar.

“The proportions, the design cues and the wheel size are the same as the concept. It looks like the show car. We couldn’t do the camera system rear-view mirrors for legal reasons, nor the electric door handles due to cost. But other than that, it’s pretty much the same,” said Volkswagen design chief Klaus Bischoff.

The first pre-production development units have been completed in April, and on-road testing for the production I.D. has commenced, according to the report. Engineers have a 16-month window in which to complete its development, and these prototypes will also be used in an ‘intensive start-up phase’ that is due to begin in September, said Volkswagen chief Herbert Diess.

Under the skin, the Volkswagen I.D. will be based on a new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB) platform, and has been claimed to deliver a range of 600 km and 170 PS from its electric motor. The first ‘definitive examples’ of the I.D. are due to be produced in November 2019, according to Autocar, and customer sales in the UK will commence at prices “comparable to a diesel model,” said Diess.

Electricity is provided by a lithium-ion battery pack located within the floor and wholly within the I.D.’s wheelbase for optimum weight distribution, and together with the rear-mounted motor, tips the balance at 48:52 front-to-rear. There is also sufficient space for the use of multi-link rear suspension similar to that in the Golf, the company tells Autocar.

Its battery is tipped to be manufactured in-house at Volkswagen for the production I.D. model, and the company describes the battery as begin scalable for different capacities, similar to today’s internal combustion engines being capable of different outputs. Details regarding its charging system are scarce, though Volkswagen claims a 80% charge is possible within 30 minutes.

A fully-autonomous I.D. Pilot mode is set to be introduced in 2025, which in the concept is activated by touching the VW logo on the steering wheel. In addition to handing vehicular control over to the computer systems, the steering wheel also retracts for slightly more space within the vehicle.

The I.D. hatchback will be the first of five new electric models in the pipeline, including the I.D. Crozz coupe-SUV crossover, I.D. Vizzion flagship, I.D. Buzz MPV and I.D. R Pikes Peak racer.

GALLERY: Volkswagen I.D. hatch concept