Volkswagen has revealed the name, pricing and driving ranges for its first mass-market EV. The Golf-sized battery-powered car is part of VW Group's 30 billion-euro ($34 billion) strategy to topple Tesla as the electric-car leader. It will be called the ID3.
VW has started a pre-booking marketing campaign for a launch-edition ID3, which will be priced at below 40,000 euros ($45,000) in Germany, excluding government incentives.
Other ID3 versions will include an entry-level car priced below 30,000 euros, about the same level as the diesel variant of the Golf hatchback, and a large battery version, whose pricing was not disclosed.
"We are not playing," VW sales chief Juergen Stackmann said at an event in Berlin on Wednesday launching the reservation program. "This is the car to beat for the future, for all our competitors."
Potential customers can register for an early production slot by paying a 1,000-euro registration deposit, fully refundable in Germany until April 2020, VW said in a statement.
The launch edition will be limited to a series of 30,000 vehicles that will be delivered starting in the middle of next year, VW said. Production of the launch edition will start at the end of this year at VW's revamped EV factory in Zwickau, Germany.
The launch-edition ID3 will have a midrange battery capable of travelling 420 km (261 miles) on a single charge under Europe's WLTP test cycle. VW expects that this battery option will be the most popular variant of three versions that will have ranges of between 330 km and 550 km.
"With the ID3, we will be ushering in the third major chapter of strategic importance in the history of our brand, following the Beetle and the Golf," Stackmann, said. "The number three also signals expandability into the segments above and below it. We have a lot in the pipeline," he said.
The ID3 hatchback is the core of VW's CO2 emission reduction strategy and the first model to be built on the automaker’s new MEB electric-car architecture. VW Group's Audi, Skoda and Seat brands have shown concepts at recent auto shows of the cars they will build on the MEB platform.
The ID3 will be key to VW brand's goal of becoming the top-selling EV maker by 2025 selling 1 million EVs a year with more than 20 battery-powered cars in its lineup. "Volkswagen is a big player, and when we go, a lot of people follow," Stackmann said.
The ambitious effort is set to stoke competition in a segment where automakers struggle to generate returns and is mainly driven by tighter pollution regulations. Stackmann said that its electric cars "must make money."
VW said the most important markets for the ID.3 will be Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, France, the UK and Austria.
VW will give ID3 buyers free charging for the first year up to a maximum of 2,000 kilowatt-hours at public charging stations that use the brand’s We Charge app, including the fast chargers operated by Europe’s Ionity.