Volkswagen has rolled out the final version of its first affordable long-range electric car, the ID.3, at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. Coming in at “under €30,000” (about $33,180, currently), the ID.3 will come in three variants that offer between roughly 205 and 340 miles of range. The EV is slated to be delivered in mid-2020.
That “under €30,000” price tag VW is promoting applies to the base model of the ID.3, which has a 45kWh battery and offers 330 kilometers, or 205 miles of range. The company declined to provide pricing information for the two larger capacity variants of the car, which will feature 58kWh and 77kWh batteries, and will respectively offer around 420 and 550 kilometers (or 261 and 340 miles) per charge.
VW says the base version of the ID.3 will only charge at up to 50kW, and owners who want to charge faster (up to 100kW) will have to pay extra; 100kW charging will come standard on the midrange 58kWh version, while even faster 125kW charging will be available on the top-tier ID.3. The company is also offering an eight year / 160,000 kilometer warranty on the ID.3’s battery pack.
The ID.3, which resembles the German automaker’s popular Golf hatchback, has the potential to be a very important car for VW. It will be the first vehicle built on the company’s new modular all-electric platform, one that will power dozens more cars and SUVs that are waiting in the wings as part of the larger Volkswagen Group’s multibillion-dollar push into EVs. (That said, VW has no plans to release the car in the US right now, and it’s also unclear whether the company will sell the car in China.)
The ID.3 is also the first in a lineup of “ID”-branded cars, many of which we’ve already seen in concept form. Over the next few years, VW will release a crossover SUV (the I.D. Crozz), a sedan (the I.D. Vizzion), a larger SUV (the I.D. Roomzz), and will relaunch its iconic microbus and dune buggy as all-electric vehicles (the I.D. Buzz and I.D. Buggy, respectively).
While the ID.3 may resemble an updated Golf from the outside, VW says it will be far roomier on the inside. By removing the internal combustion engine, placing the electric motor right on the rear axle, and putting the batteries in the vehicle’s floor, the automaker is able to extend the cabin forward, thus freeing up previously inaccessible space to the company’s designers.
The result should be a car that’s compact in profile, but feels more comfortable to ride in, and also has more storage than a vehicle of this size. Extra space is a common promise when it comes to EVs, but it may matter even more in a car like the ID.3, which will cost less than almost any other all-electric on the market. VW is likely to hammer on this point as it ramps up to the 2020 release of the car.
Inside that more spacious cabin, drivers and passengers will find an interior that is more high-tech than what VW currently offers at lower price points. The central focus is a new 10-inch touchscreen that sits in the middle of the ID.3’s dashboard. But VW has also opted to rely on touch-sensitive buttons throughout the cabin. In fact, the only things that are controlled through physical buttons, VW says, are the windows and the hazard lights. The ID.3’s interior may not be as severe an exercise in minimalism as Tesla’s Model 3, but it’s just as dismissive of physical buttons.
Some other high-tech touches include an optional “augmented reality” heads-up display that projects information onto the ID.3’s windshield, and voice-activated controls that can be triggered by saying “Hello ID.” There’s a wireless charging mat for smartphones, and buyers can upgrade to a Beats-branded stereo package, which VW says “offers an audio atmosphere like at a live concert.”
The ID.3 can also be equipped with keyless entry, and the car’s LED matrix headlights will even “flutter” a set of “eyelids” when the owner approaches, a feature that VW says gives the car a “friendly” and “human” touch.
Finally on stage, VW chief executive Herbert Diess says the ID3, the new electric car, is "not just a new car, it is the beginning of an electric offensive".
VW has touted that many of its other I.D.-brand cars will be developed with autonomy in mind, but the ID.3 will go on sale with just a basic set of driver assistance features. Those include automatic emergency braking and lane assist / lane keep functionality.
The ID.3 unveiling comes a few days after VW-subsidiary Porsche revealed its first all-electric sports car, the Taycan. The E-Tron, the first battery-electric SUV from Volkswagen Group-owned Audi, debuted almost a year ago. Together, these vehicles represent the tip of the spear in VW’s effort to dominate the emerging EV market. They’re also crucial in helping VW turn the page on the now-four-year-old Dieselgate scandal, in which VW was accused of installing illegal software in 11 million diesel cars in order to trick emissions tests.