FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen touted its ID3 as an electric car for the masses.
The battery-powered compact hatchback will "secure the future of mobility for millions of people," VW Group CEO Herbert Diess said at the unveiling of the Golf-sized EV on Monday on the eve of the opening of the Frankfurt auto show.
Diess said the future of driving rests with electric cars such as the ID3 because they do not have the negative image of gasoline and diesel cars.
The ID3 is the first of a wave of EVs from the VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat brands that will share VW Group's global modular electric platform, known as MEB.
VW said the ID3 would start at a price under 30,000 euros, or about $33,000, in Germany, "comparable to that of typical compact vehicles following the deduction of the anticipated government subsidies."
The base-level car has a 45 KWh battery with a range of up 330 km (205 miles) as measured by Europe's WLTP test regime. Above that a mid-level 58 kWh has a range of 418 km (260 miles) in a version called Pro while the Pro S has a high-level 77 kWh battery has range of 549 km (341 miles).
VW said it has taken more than 30,000 deposits for launch editions of the car, called the 1st, which has the mid-range 58 kWh battery and will start at under 40,000 euros.
Production starts at VW's factory in Zwickau, Germany in November and deliveries will begin in spring next year.
The entry version of the ID3 1st includes a navigation system, heated steering wheel, armrests at the front, and 18-inch wheels. The 1st Plus version adds a rear-view camera system, adaptive cruise control and keyless locking and starting. A top end version, called ID3 1st Max, comes with an augmented reality head-up display and 20-inch wheels.
With exterior dimensions and styling similar to the Golf, Europe's top-selling car, the ID3 will have a rear-mounted drive motor. Vehicles on the MEB platform will either be rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
Volkswagen, still recovering from widespread diesel-emissions violations that surfaced in the U.S. 2015, calls the ID3 its first "CO2-neutral" vehicle, and says it will guarantee the hatchback's battery packs for eight years.
Europe will be the main market for the ID3. It will not be sold in the United States. Instead a five-passenger crossover due in late 2020 called the ID Crozz will lead VW's EV push in the U.S.