Volkswagen unveils its first ID electric car, and it's reasonably priced

Andrew Cummings
September 10, 2019

It's by no means a secret. This will be exactly where Volkswagen will officially phase out as an electric powered automobile brand. VW sees this as a price "for the masses".

The ID.3 is similar to the Golf in size and will be the first of a range of electric cars from Volkswagen over the coming years. All told, it is investing about 11 billion euros, or $12.1 billion in the effort, part of its "goTOzero" strategy.

Under the hood, Volkswagen's ID.3 is not only efficient but packs quite a bit of power.

While alternatively-fuelled vehicles from Volkswagen have been fairly conservative in their approach, there's no chance of mistaking the ID.3 for any other auto in the range.

"The vehicle has a big future", said VW CEO Herbert Diess. Volkswagen has plans to build more than 10 million electric vehicles in the next 10 years with 20 different e-models. The long wheelbase of the MEB layout, combined with very short overhangs, results in an expansive vehicle interior: the Open Space. The fact that there have been so many initial hand-raisers suggests VW may be onto something. A version with 340 miles of range will be added to the lineup along with a budget model with a small battery pack that's rated at 205 miles. Using the latest European WLTP testing cycle, VW estimates that will yield around 420 km, or 261 mile, range.

From there buyers step up to a 58kWh variant with a driving range of 420km, and finally a top-specification model will be available with a 77kWh battery and an impressive 550km of range. The ID.3 will only be offered in Europe for now and VW has not revealed if they will be bringing it to India any time in the future.

VW says 30 minutes of charging at 100kW adds 290km of range. The batteries themselves are integrated into the underbody for optimum driving dynamics and weight between the front axle and rear axle. The lack of a center tunnel, normally needed for a driveshaft, further increases usable interior space.

The ID 3 rides on Volkswagen's new MEB platform.

That includes the centrally located 10-inch touchscreen that handled a broad range of vehicle functions. It also gets matrix LED headlights, augmented reality (AR) heads-up display, a Beats sound system and a large panoramic sliding/tilting glass roof. Occupants can also make use of "intelligent natural voice control". Drivers or front passengers can speak to the ID.3, simply by saying "hello ID".

The ID.3 is as futuristic as you'd expect in the cabin.

Although Diess said in October that Volkswagen would "come in 2020 with vehicles that can do anything like Tesla and are cheaper by half", the first edition ID.3 is clearly not this vehicle, with the Model 3 SR+ in Germany now starting at €43,390 (just onder $A70,000 converted) before on-road costs. The good news for the automaker is that battery-cars are beginning to gain some momentum after a slow start on the Continent. Global demand for new vehicles contracted previous year, and the trade war between the US and China and uncertainty over Brexit is serving up yet more challenges.

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