Volkswagen's electric era has begun.
The Volkswagen e-Golf never seemed like a serious threat in the electric vehicle market with a range of just 125 miles. But VW has a plan to completely reinvent itself with a new line of ID-branded EVs, the first of which has just arrived at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. VW has been slowly teasing the ID.3 hatchback and has already received over 30,000 preorders for the car. And it has finally been fully revealed.
It's easy to see why there was so much hype surrounding this car because the ID.3 1st special edition arrives in Germany with a WLTP-rated driving range of 420 kilometers (260 miles) with the mid-range 58 kWh battery. The base car will have a range of 330 kilometers (205 miles ) from a 45 kWh battery while the top range 77 kWh battery model will be able to travel 550 kilometers (341 miles) on a charge. Note: EPA range differs from WLTP and these numbers would likely be lower if it were to be sold in the US (more on that shortly).
Not only will the ID.3 boast Tesla-rivaling electric range, but it will also include fast charging capability at an output of 100 kW. VW says on a fast charger the ID.3 will be able to recoupe around 290 kilometers (about 180 miles) of range in just 30 minutes. Anyone who buys an ID.31st Edition will also receive a free year of charing from Volkswagen WeCharge up to 2,000 kWh.
Drive comes from a permanent-magnet synchronous motor with power electronics and a one-speed gearbox, which is integrated into the rear axle. The motor produces 201 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of torque and since the battery is positioned in the underbody, the ID.3 has a low center of gravity like a race car. VW claims the ID.3 can reach a top speed of 160 kph (just under 100 mph).
VW says it wanted the ID.3 to be instantly recognizable as an EV with a new "light is the chrome of the future" design language. "With the ID.3, Volkswagen is heading towards the future", explains Klaus Bischoff, Head Designer of the Volkswagen brand. "The natural style and absolutely intuitive user experience demonstrate a new, electric way of thinking." Since EVs do not require large cooling vents, this allowed the designers to create a charismatic design with unique proportions.
The ID.3 will be available with 18-, 19-, or 20-inch wheels complimented by a diamond-shaped "ID. Honeycomb" foil on the C-pillar, dark glass hatch, slim LED taillights, and panorama sliding/tilting glass roof. We think the design looks pretty nice but we hope the US-bound crossover brings a sportier flavor.
VW says the ID.3's dimensions are similar to the Golf and thanks to its clever packaging will have more interior space than any other vehicle in its segment. It will offer seating for five passengers with 385 liters of storage space behind the second row. A new ten-inch touch display provides drivers with important information while an optional augmented reality (AR) head-up display can project it on the windshield. All of the controls are operated using touch-sensitive buttons except for the electric windows and hazard warning lights, which remain tactile.
The base price will be €30,000 (around $33,000) in Germany starting from mid-2020. Sadly, the ID.3 will not be sold in North America. Instead, the US market will receive a crossover in the very near future based on the same MEB platform. When the ID.3 goes on sale in Germany, it will be offered with an eight-year or 160,000-kilometer (just under 100,000-mile) warranty on the batteries. Three battery sizes and three equipment levels will be offered at launch.