This year’s Frankfurt Motor Show wasn’t short on major car announcements, but Volkswagen’s unveiling of its first mass-production EV - the ID.3 - was arguably the biggest of them all.
Hailed by critics as VW’s most important car since the Golf, which arrived in 1974 and has recently been refreshed for 2020, the ID.3 is a family-sized hatchback that promises to bring zero-emission motoring to the everyday car buyer.
The ID.3 is the first car to arrive under the German carmaker’s “$50 billion (£40.4bn) 5-year gamble” on electric vehicles, says Forbes. The investment will spawn multiple EVs over the next few years for both its own product line-up and firms owned by the VW Group, such as Audi and Porsche.
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So, what does VW’s first stab at a mass-production EV have to offer?
Price and release
At launch, the only model on offer will be the limited-run ID.3 1st Edition, which comes with the same 58kWh battery as the mid-range model, says Autocar.
Orders for entry-level, mid-range and top-spec ID.3s are due to open “next year”, the motoring magazine says, with deliveries set to kick off in the autumn.
Pricing for base-spec cars will start at around £27,500, before the £3,500 government grant that’s given to EV buyers is applied, the mag adds. It’s not yet known how much the mid and top-spec models will cost.
At first sight, the ID.3 looks almost identical to the company’s ID concept that first appeared at the Paris Motor Show in 2016.
The production model, for example, adopts the concept’s short bonnet, thin LED headlights and illuminated VW badge. It also retains the concept’s long wheelbase, as well as its futuristic five-spoke wheels and gloss black boot lid.
Though its proportions look similar to VW’s compact Up! city car, the ID.3 is actually closer to the Golf in size. According to Auto Express, the EV is just 3mm longer and 19mm wider than the outgoing Golf, while its wheelbase is 145mm longer.
However, the ID.3’s roofline is about 70mm higher than its combustion-engined sibling, suggesting that “the battery installation has resulted in a slightly thicker floor”, the magazine claims.
“Clean, simple and neatly-arranged are the messages the ID.3’s interior give off,” notes Car magazine. The hatchback’s dashboard is “free from clutter” and there are storage cubbies aplenty in the large centre console.
Most of the car’s controls are operated through the 10in touchscreen display on the dashboard or through the various buttons on the steering wheel, adds the magazine. There’s also an onboard assistant that responds to voice commands when drivers say “hello ID”.
In keeping with the car’s digital vibe, VW has carried over the “play and pause” icons on the pedals from the ID.3 concept to the production model.
Battery range and performance
Opt for an entry-level ID.3 and you’ll get a 45kWh battery that has a range of up to 205 miles on a single charge, while mid-range models – which WhatCar? expects to be “the most popular” – have a 58kWh battery offering 261 miles.
Top-spec models come with a 77kWh battery pack that yields 342 miles, the reviews site says. It’s worth noting that all ranges are measured by the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) system, which is the most recent – and most accurate – way of logging battery range.
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