MOTOR’s editor, Ray Leathern, is on the frontlines, bringing you the reveals that matter from this year’s IAA motor show in Frankfurt. Here’s the Volkswagen ID.3, the highlight reveal from the exclusive Volkswagen Group night.
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Cast an eye over the Frankfurt motor show halls and the future of mobility is undoubtedly electrified. The world’s most powerful automotive manufacturers are all on board, readying EV products to head to market sooner rather than later. But while some plan, others are bringing to market. Revealed at the exclusive Volkswagen Group night ahead of the motor show opening, Volkswagen’s first electric vehicle, the ID3 – ID stands for Intelligent Design, and 3 stands for the third chapter, as in after Beetle and Golf – is a family-sized hatchback, much like the Golf, and is expected to take the brand into the electrified future.
Volkswagen calls ID 3 its most important new car ever – no pressure then – as it represents the gateway, so to speak, of the entire VW Groups’ forthcoming EV range. The brand also intimated it wants to become the number one brand globally by 2025, with more than 20 purely electrically driven models and more than a million vehicles sold annually. Hang on a minute their guys and girls, it was that sort of conquest talk that ended in #dieselgate, let’s just take it one step at a time, shall we.
Earlier this year, Volkswagen opened pre-order books and even with the €1 000 deposit, more than 15 000 units were reserved in the first week. The demand for a family-friendly, economically-viable EV, ‘which will start from under €30 000 in Germany’ (roughly R500k in a direct currency conversion) is clearly there.
Three versions will be made available: a Regular 48 kWh battery with a range of 330 km, an uprated Plus 55 kWh battery offering a range of 440 km, and finally a top-of-the-range Max 62 kWh battery with a maximum 550 km range, on the industry-standard WLTP cycle.
Volkswagen executives say that while ID 3 is more costly to purchase than an equivalent combustion vehicle, the e-vehicle is considerably more economical in terms of maintenance, for example about 30 percent in terms of maintenance, meaning electric mobility is finally becoming viable to the masses.
It’s the size of a Golf on the outside with the interior space of a Passat – a crucial advantage of the battery-electric’s ‘skateboard’ layout. Note the long wheelbase and short overhangs to maximise the footprint and the big 20-inch wheels to balance the height of the car, because the ID 3 is substantially taller than a Golf.
Volkswagen production is targeted at 100 000 models a year, with first customers in Europe expecting their cars early in 2020. It remains to be confirmed whether any examples will make their way to South Africa. With zero incentives for government for electric vehicles, we don’t suggest holding your breath though.