Volkswagen has unveiled what has to be its most important model since the Golf: the all-electric ID.3.
In the fallout from Dieselgate, the German brand’s switch to focusing on electric vehicles signals its reinvention. So, will the Golf-sized ID.3 create a new following? If the bare figures — a range of up to 341 miles, and priced from around £27,500 — are any indication, then the answer has to be a strong, yes.
Before looking at range the car can travel, let’s deal with the prices. That ‘from around £27,500’ price is before the £3,500 government subsidy is taken off. Taking the grant into account, that puts the entry-level ID.3 on a par with a mid-range 1.6-litre TDI Golf GT. It’s likely prices will rise to closer to around £35,000 for the ID.3 1st edition. Order books for the standard ID.3 will open next year, with deliveries scheduled for the autumn.
So; range? VW will offer the ID.3 with the choice of three battery sizes with two power outputs from its rear-mounted electric motor. The entry-level gets a 45kWh battery with claimed range of 205 miles and 148bhp; next-up is the 201bhp, 58kWh with a range of 260; followed by the range-topping 77kWh battery, which also delivers 201bhp, but increases the range to 341 miles. That’s equivalent to what many people drive in a week. And all figures are under the new, more realistic WLTP conditions.
VW had yet to confirm full specifications for the cars, but all will deliver 229lb/ft of torque. Entry- and mid-level ID.3s will have a top speed of 99mph.
As for charging; the mid-range ID.3 will be available with a charging capacity of 100kW. VW pledges this will deliver 155 miles of range after just 30 minutes of charging. And while the range-topping ID.3 will be capable of charging at 125kW, the smaller-battery ID.3 will offer 50kW, but with an optional 100kW.
VW is guaranteeing the battery — which is stowed under the floor — for eight years, or 100,000 miles.
Unlike VW’s current car range, the ID.3 will not be available in traditional trim levels. This approach, VW claims, will make life simpler for customers, many of whom will be buying an electric car for the first time. That said, it’s likely UK buyers will be able to choose from four option packs.
The ID.3, shown as a concept at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, is the first of VW’s all-new, all-electric family, and when it goes on-sale next summer it’ll be quickly followed by the production version of the ID Crozz SUV. Concept forms of the Buzz, Vizzion and Roomzz, have already been shown, and all will help the company achieve its ambitious goal of selling three million EVs by 2025.
The people’s electric car
Volkswagen’s description of the ID.3 as being the “electric car for everyone” is a significant statement. It’s further strengthened by its explanation of the model’s name. According to the carmaker, the ‘3’ signifies “the third major chapter for the brand after the Beetle and Golf”. And as we all know, both are widely accepted as being landmark cars not only for VW, but also the wider motoring industry.
The ID.3 is the first car to use VW’s new MEB platform. It’s a scaleable architecture which has been created solely for electric vehicles, and will underpin all ID models, as well as EVs from other VW Group brands. It has also be licensed for use by Ford. This recently confirmed agreement is crucial in helping VW recoup the huge costs of development, and will allow prices to be kept low through economies of scale.
In designing a bespoke electric platform, VW has been able to maximise the interior space for occupants. Just 3mm longer, 10mm wider and 60mm taller than the current Golf, the ID.3’s wheelbase is 145mm longer. Measuring 2765mm, it’s just just 21mm shorter than that of the largest Passat. Bootspace in the ID.3 is the same — 380 litres — as the Golf.
By keeping the production vehicle’s styling as close s possible to that of the concept, and retaining its long wheelbase and short overhangs, the ID.3 will be available with 20-inch alloys. Okay, that’s on the range-topping ID.3 1st Max, but even the ‘basic’ model gets 18-inch alloys.
You somehow get the feeling, driving-electric has never looked so cool … or sporty!
That feeling is further highlighted by the large rear spoiler. And it’s not just for show: VW states it’s required for aerodynamic efficiency. All cars will also feature a black roof and rear section as standard.
Unlike combustion-engined VWs, the interior of the ID.3 has been significantly pared back. The result is something of a futuristic look which further adds to the feeling of space. The only feature on the dashboard is a 10-inch protruding central screen. Fitted as standard, this houses systems such as navigation and will receive over-the-air updates.
A head-up display, which projects relevant information on to the windscreen, will be available on the options list. Touch-sensitive buttons, including those on the electrically adjustable multifunction steering wheel, will be used to operate all controls. Well, apart from the electric windows and hazard warning lights, which will be operated by good old-fashioned, conventional buttons.
It’s fair to say the purchasing costs are slightly higher than those of a combustion vehicle. But that has to be offset by the fact any e-vehicle is considerably more economical in terms of maintenance and fuel costs. With the ID.3, it looks like electric mobility is finally becoming available to the masses.