Volkswagen has finally taken the wraps off its new ID.3 electric car ahead of the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The claims are bullish: VW says this is its third ‘most important’ launch ever, alongside the original Beetle and Volkswagen Golf. Indeed, it could redefine the people’s car: Golf-sized, but with space inside of a Passat.
Does it have the potential to put VW’s mainstay hatch out of a job? Let’s get the important stuff out of the way.
205-340 miles of range
Exactly how the ID.3’s powertrain performs will dictate its suitability for the average buyer. No surprises here, it’s one of the most impressive electric cars yet.
Three battery size options are available at launch. The cheapest entry-level model gets a 205-mile range from its 45 kWh battery. It can be charged up to a 180-mile capability within half an hour, charging at a 100kW output.
The larger battery sizes are 58 kWh and 77 kWh, good for a respective 260 and 341 miles of range. All are WLTP-certified range calculations. Interestingly, it is rear-wheel drive: AWD versions come later.
The ID.3 is starting as the ID family means to go on in terms of sustainability. Production of the car, through the supply chain and the battery, is totally carbon neutral.
Inside the ID.3
The ID.3 is as futuristic as you’d expect in the cabin. As with much of what’s coming out of the VW Group right now, very little is controlled with buttons.
Everything apart from the electric windows and hazard lights use touch-sensitive haptic controls, mostly located on the 10.0-inch central display and the steering wheel.
In terms of space, as above, it leads the family hatch class. The ‘Open Space’ design is a result of the inherent advantages of an electric powertrain.
Short overhangs, a short bonnet and no encroachment into the cabin from an engine, transmission or driveline. While there isn’t a typical length of bonnet and short overhangs, the ID.3 still looks the part from the outside.
“The ID.3 is an all-rounder that is suitable for everyday use,” claims Silke Bagschik, Head of Sales and Marketing for the ID family
“It is compact, as such offering the maneuverability of a small car with the interior space of a mid-range vehicle. It combines exciting design with innovative technology and significant range.”
From under £27,000
The ID.3 is going to be available from under £27,000, for the 205-mile capable car. The top-end first edition cars are available from £35,000.
ID.3 Max is the top-of-the-range version of the new family electric car. As well as a panoramic movable glass sunroof and a Beats audio system, it also features a revolutionary augmented reality head-up display.
This equipment comes over and above the Plus specification which has automatic cruise control, a rear-view camera and an advanced keyless go system. Matrix LED lights are also standard.
The ID.3 is the next step in EV progression towards taking over from ICE cars. It goes a bit further, charges a bit faster and costs a bit less than what’s come before. What it isn’t, is beholden to ICE tropes. It’s not a car that once had an engine, that’s now electric.
It’s a ground-up design that makes few concessions to petrol and diesel-powered convention. Our first real taste of what VW’s MEB modular electric drive matrix architecture is capable of shows a great deal of promise indeed.
In pictures: VW ID.3