By on September 9, 2019

Volkswagen revealed the first of many upcoming EVs based on its modular MEB platform at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week. While the ID.3 resembles a Golf in both form and function, VW claims this is not business as usual. According to the manufacturer, the new hatchback “reflects the realignment of the Volkswagen brand” by offering full connectivity, maximum efficiency, and no local emissions.

While it’s not coming to America, other ID models will be. Taking a long look at the ID.3 could provide us with a better understanding of what those vehicles might be like and help us examine the general direction the German manufacturer appears to be heading these days. 

“The ID.3 is an all-rounder that is suitable for everyday use. 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,” Silke Bagschik, ID’s marketing and sales boss, said before the Frankfurt debut.

That range is dependent on a few factors, however. The base ID.3 will come with a 45 kWh battery pack (tucked beneath the floor boards) good for an estimated 205 miles of travel using the WLTP test cycle. There will also be a 58 and 77 kWh version, the latter of which is said to manage 342 miles on a single charge. Unfortunately, Europe’s utilization of the WLTP cycle means those figures will probably come down a bit in practice. But the extended-range model’s operating area is still rather impressive for a small vehicle and VW said you can restore 180 miles of charge within 30 minutes if you can locate a 100 kW charging station.

The ID.3’s electric motor and single-speed gearbox are mounted to the rear axle, something VW said helped minimize frontal drag — important considering the ID.3 is nearly two tons in its lightest format. As for how that translates into performance, we’ve yet to find out. The manufacturer hasn’t provided us with any acceleration times but did say the car would be electronically limited to around 100 mph.

With 204 horsepower (150 kilowatts) 229 pound-feet (310 Newton-meters) on tap, we’re imagining the ID.3 shouldn’t feel terribly different from the Hyundai Kona Electric or Chevrolet Bolt with the hammer down. Zero-to-60 times should rest comfortably in the 7-second range, with the other models likely having a slight edge. Be prepared for an initial surge of acceleration, thanks to the electric motor’s instantaneous torque delivery, followed by an evolving lethargy as the model hits highway speeds.

Visually, the ID.3 seems to be an amalgamation of Volkswagen’s Up and Golf models. Its design is fairly contemporary, rather than futuristic. But there are sufficient exterior details to help you pin it as an EV (check out the graphics on the C-pillar). Overhangs are also quite short and the hood is stubbier than you’d expect to find on a gas-powered automobile.

That long wheelbase helps to maximize interior volume, which VW said would set a new standard for the segment — with seating for five. The interior design is rather bland, however. Neither the digital gauge cluster or central console have been integrated into the dashboard. Instead, VW has opted to leave both jutting out with most buttons being relegated to the steering wheel.

It’s a sort of back-to-basics approach tempered with a trunk load of technological inclusions (via the touchscreen) VW hopes will catch on. To be fair, neither the Bolt or Kona have stellar interiors either. But they’re more interesting and unique than the anonymous void Volkswagen has decided to install in the ID.3. However, if you dig the super basic design of Tesla’s Model 3, it might suit you — just know that Tesla’s singular oversized screen dwarfs the VW’s 10-inch center console.

Initially, the company will be entirely focused on producing the ID.3 1st limited launch edition. But regular pricing will start below 30,000 euros (about $33,150 USD), according to VW. Base launch edition models come equipped with a satellite navigation system, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, 18-inch alloys, and internet connectivity.

Plus models add a rear view camera system (something that would be mandatory in the U.S.), new interior designs/colors and colors, ambient lighting, exterior LEDs, 19-inch alloys, additional USB-C connections, keyless entry, and adaptive cruise control.

Max models incorporate a head-up display, Beats sound system, large panorama sliding/tilting glass roof, 20-inch light-alloy wheels, wireless device charging, lane keeping with assist, and comfort seats.

All told, that kind of makes base ID models sound a little too basic — especially if VW lightens content after those limited launch editions wrap. Despite automatically providing always-on internet (a double edged sword), navigation, some other niceties, it looks like it’s missing some of the kit you’re beginning to find standard elsewhere. Granted, the cheapest ID.3 does seem prepared to come in below its main rival’s price points but it doesn’t look ready to beat them outright (without going up in trim) or replace dirt-cheap, internal-combustion vehicles as the most affordable way to get behind the wheel.

We’re curious to see whether Volkswagen attempts a similar pricing structure when it releases the ID Crozz in the U.S. It seems like there could be a lot riding on how the company prices mid-level ID trims. And all of the systems going into the ID.3 are expected to appear in later MEB-based vehicles, including those planned for sale here. The Crozz is slated to arrive stateside during the latter half of 2020, followed by the microbus-inspired ID Buzz and a mystery model in 2023.

[Images: Volkswagen Group]

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25 Comments on “Volkswagen’s Electric Product Parade Begins in Europe...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Good specs in a decent package. But those displays….

    • 0 avatar

      I hope those displays are not for real, that looks like a dashboard off a fisher price or power wheels car the way it’s on stands. Just replace the screen with a giant sticker of an analog gauge set.

  • avatar

    Dashboard is as Chinese would polit-correctly say “inspired” by Tesla Model 3. I expected more from VW since it is not a Chinese brand. Or may be it is. I heard VW is like European Buick in China but has less prestige. I still would choose Tesla Model 3 over this based on review. It looks like typical VW Golf. Not a breakthrough like Tesla was.

    • 0 avatar

      I give the Model S it’s fair due for breaking the mold for EVs, and I do like the pre-face lift examples, but I have yet to figure out even slightly what’s so attractive about the Model 3, it is awkwardly proportioned as badly as the Leaf and Bolt, just with wider front fenders. It’s not offensive by any means but looking at it from any direction other than straight on is unfortunate.

      This just looks like another Leaf, Bolt, M3, why is this the only segment that manufacturers are aiming products at? The greatest thing about EVs is that manufacturers no longer have to put aerodynamics over styling, yet almost everything we get is a horrible pod in the compact segment. It’s hard to root for these products when the only segments they exist in any real numbers outside of Tesla is the least desirable segment.

      Unattractive and inoffensive, the ultimate in politically correct cars.

      • 0 avatar

        @hummer:” the ultimate in politically correct cars.” Nothing to do with political correctness. Most buyers buy them for the driving dynamics. That’s all it is. No politics involved.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        “…why is this the only segment that manufacturers are aiming products at?”

        Because EVs don’t scale well.

        The same IC four-pot turbo can power anything from a compact car to an SUV, or even a pickup truck, albeit with a larger gas tank, the incremental cost and size of which is trivial.

    • 0 avatar

      I would say it is more BMW i3 than anything. Small screen behind the steering wheel, larger screen for the center console.

  • avatar

    The word ‘kit’ is used too often in these essays.

    • 0 avatar

      “Kit” was heard so many times on Top Gear that it’s migrated over the pond to American auto scribes.

      Meanwhile, the Chinese have… come into possession… of VW’s electric car designs.

      Soon they will be making fake IDs.

      • 0 avatar

        Fresh coffeetime caffeine-psychosis time-travel funtimes with iNeon wortsalat supposition edition:

        People in 2019 only talk about feels and emotion-experience so much because media are overwhelmingly repetitive and every idea and word have been used so many times— they’re -all- triggers.

        The next human evolution can’t get here soon enough. Where my psychic INFP children at?!?

      • 0 avatar
        Mike Beranek

        Yes, “kit” in this form has jumped the pond, along with “dodgy”, “muck about”, and “crack on”. Thanks, Edd China.

  • avatar

    Correction: base model is 150hp, only the more powerful version is 200hp. So that base 30K€ one will have 150hp, so the only remarkable differentiation about is a bit more battery size than rivals, with a bit less power than most rivals, (expected to be) with more weight than most.

    Very typically this East-German looking ugly thing will be at least 5K€ more expensive than ICE models even though they’ve used massively cheaper solutions, materials and details, and the company has artificially lowered the price, taking in much less profit.

    Not sure about the exact weight figures, but seeing that it’s simple cheap steel construction with big batteries, and some rumours have emerged of nearly 2 tons of weight, the debate should be about what the proliferation of these will do to road safety. Their impact on safety in society as a whole will be noticeable. If most Golfs and golf-class cars will be replaced by these konds of vehicles then the average weight of vehilces is set to rise by around 500kg!! That WILL result in substantial cost in increased deaths and injuries. Remember that in a years’ time VW will be mostly selling their new SUV version of this and that’s what current SUV buyers and probably even more people will go for. That will almost certainly also be an additional 500kg heavier than comparable ICE vehicles.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I thought it was cute when GM made a Chevy “Cruze.” But I.D. Crozz? Not cute at all. Obnoxious, actually. I hope that if they do bring that one here, they change its name.

  • avatar

    “Neither the digital gauge cluster or central console have been integrated into the dashboard.”

    Might as well ditch the dashboard then. That should do pretty well for the interior volume specs they like to brag about.

  • avatar

    I’ve never seen an explanation for why dedicated EVs almost universally have that dorky upright stance, with the notable exception of the Model S and current Leaf (IMO). It can’t help with aero, and it’s not going to fool anyone into thinking they’re crossovers. The Bolt, i3, Model 3 and this all look like they’ve got something stuck up their tailpipe. Hybrids don’t have this problem, the Prius et al still look like relatively normal vehicles other than the styling details.

    BMW have to have grounds for a lawsuit here, from any angle other than from the front average people will never be able to tell this apart from an i3. Even the interior.

    Is there a law in Europe that all EVs need to have a black painted tailgate??

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The Model 3 has a lower roofline and wider body than the Prius. Not sure how you perceive that it has an “upright dorky” stance.

      But the shape you describe can be seen on every CUV (not just a few EVs), and it’s because it’s space efficient. The sleek Model S is also pretty tight on headroom.

    • 0 avatar

      With the Model Y coming out maybe the Model 3 will get a little sleeker in the future. I do find the Tesla a bit frumpy compared to other RWD-based premium cars.

  • avatar

    The ID.3 is a truly unimpressive and uninspired vehicle. Is VW really not capable of doing better than this?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      VW is a conservative company that wants to sell vehicles. The Camry isn’t particularly imaginative or inspired, but it sells.

      If you’re looking for something more exciting in the VAG, look to Bugatti.

  • avatar

    Nice! Another clean and elegant design from VW. I hope VW decides to bring this to Canada even if it won’t make it to the US.

  • avatar

    The placement of the HVAC controls to the left side of the steering wheel, out of the reach of the passenger, is interesting.

    Seems wrong but I’m open to an explanation of why it is correct.

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