The arrival of the VW ID3 battery-electric hatchback next month represents the start of a new era for Volkswagen. The compact hatchback is the first of about 20 million vehicles that VW Group expects to build this decade using its MEB electric-drive platform, which was first conceived in 2015.
VW races into EV era with ID3
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The Golf-sized ID3 is also the first in a family of VW brand battery-electric vehicles that will include the ID Buzz microbus, ID Vizzion midsize sedan and the critical ID4 compact crossover, which is expected to be the brand's most popular MEB model globally.
The purpose of the ID-badged models is to help transform VW brand into the leading global manufacturer of zero-emissions vehicles, surpassing Tesla with planned annual sales of 1 million battery-electric cars by 2025.
Dimensions: The ID3 is 4261mm long, 1809mm wide and 1552mm tall. At 2765mm, the wheelbase almost reaches that of the Passat midsize sedan. Standard tires ride on 18-inch rims, which are larger than the 15-inch rims used on the Golf.
Motor: Built in Kassel, Germany, using parts from VW Group's Salzgitter plant, the permanent synchronous motor (PSM) has an output of 150 kilowatts (201 hp) and 310 newton meters of torque in the Pro trim level. The PSM helps accelerate the ID3 from 0 to 100 kph in 7.3 seconds, but the car's top speed is limited to 160 kph. A less powerful version is also planned.
Battery: About 80 percent of the charge can be replenished in 30 minutes in the Pro and Pro Plus trim lines using 100 to 125 kilowatt direct current. VW guarantees the ID3's battery will have at least 70 percent of its original capacity after eight years or 160,000km of operation.
Infotainment: The optional head-up display utilizes augmented reality to project navigation directions directly onto the windshield into the view of the driver, superimposed over the road. This is the first use of AR for the VW brand, setting the ID3 apart from the Model 3, which doesn't have a head-up display.
Passive safety: In the event of a side crash, a new center airbag can prevent the driver and front passenger from colliding with each other. While the vehicle does not yet have an EuroNCAP rating, this feature must be offered as standard starting this year for a new model to achieve a top rating of five stars.
The ID family is also expect to help shift the automaker's toward a lineup that is free of combustion engines by 2040, thereby eliminating any risk of regulatory fines in the future.
About 15,000 sale contracts for the "1st edition" ID3 have been recorded. The number of total orders has risen further since VW announced last month the pricing for the series model, which is considered the spiritual successor to the Golf.
"It's a fantastic result," VW brand sales chief Jürgen Stackmann said of the early demand for the ID3 during the company's half-year results call on July 31. "Normally customers only place an order after they have been able to take a car for a test drive, so we are very satisfied."
To lure customers from the Tesla Model 3, VW aims to deliver the ID3 to the customer with a net-zero carbon balance. Any CO2 emissions during production that cannot be avoided are offset via certified programs. VW is the first automaker to commit to such a target.
Green-minded buyers also can sign contracts with electricity provider Elli, a VW subsidiary, to ensure their cars are only powered by renewable energy.
Along with environmental credentials, VW is touting the ID3 as its most advanced model offered to date. The MEB range utilizes an new electrical/electronic architecture called E cubed that centralizes many computing functions in two main clusters: infotainment and driver assistance. This eliminates numerous individual electronic control units.
Launch date: September (Europe)
Base price: 35,575 euros (Germany)
Where built: Zwickau, Germany
Main competitors: Tesla Model 3, Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe
By combining E cubed with the first version of the "vw.OS" operating system, VW can continually add new features via over-the-air software updates, matching a key perk offered by Tesla.
VW will initially offer the ID3 Pro variant with a battery capacity of 58 kilowatt hours that results in a WLTP-certified range of 426km, helped by the car's flat underbody and wheels that have been optimized to reduce wind resistance.
The Pro S version of the car has a 77 kWh battery with a 549km range.