The pent-up demand for EVs is real.
The morning after the Tesla Model 3 reveal was a game changing moment for the auto industry. Auto executives probably woke up and saw the headlines, where they learned that in the span of 24 hours, 115,000 people had each plunked down $1,000 to preorder Elon Musk’s newest EV. Having that number of people hand over cash for a car that hadn’t even been built yet was astonishing, and they wanted in on the mania.
Two years and a little over a month later, and one of those execs has just unveiled an answer to the Model 3. To make things more interesting, Volkswagen also opened up the ability to preorder its ID.3 electric hatchback, perhaps as a way drumming up excitement before deliveries start in 2020. And like they did with the Model 3, preorders roared in. Enough, in fact, that they blew away Volkswagen’s expectations and even managed to overload the company's IT systems.
So when the dust settled a day later, how many ID.3 hatchback preorders did Volkswagen have in its books? Not more than 10,000, claims The Detroit News. Vast difference between Volkswagen and Tesla’s fanbase aside, the German automaker's preorder numbers are nothing to take lightly. They already far exceeded the number of orders VW was expecting to receive for its €30,000 ($33,600) MEB platform-based electric car. The most obvious factor weighing demand down (compared to the Model 3) is that Volkswagen is not Tesla and doesn’t command the same kind of hype as the younger automaker. Perhaps more importantly, though, is that Volkswagen has yet to fully reveal the ID.3. Aside from a name and pictures of a heavily camouflaged hatchback, those buyers who paid €1,000 ($1,120) to be first in line to buy the ID.3 don’t even know what they’re getting themselves into.
Not that preordering the ID.3 is a bad purchase. Those buyers likely put money down for the ID.3 First Edition, a limited production run of 30,000 cars that sticker for €40,000 ($44,800) and get 261 miles of range per charge. Budget buyers purchasing the €30,000 model car get up to 205 miles on a single charge, while a range-topping model will be offered as well with range hitting the 342-mile mark. The ID.3's preorder list and fact Volkswagen is cutting the standard Golf from its US lineup might give us a glimpse of the automaker’s strategy for speeding up the transition to electric cars: by offering cheap EVs with good quality (assuming it’s as good as the Golf) for the masses and leaving the fans with high-performance gasoline versions.