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View all Volkswagen ID.3 reviews

First purpose-built electric VW looks promising

Volkswagen ID.3 Hatchback (20 on) - rated 0 out of 5
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PROS

  • Up to 342-mile electric range
  • Standard fast-charging
  • Golf-sized outside, Passat-like inside

CONS

  • Pricey 1st Edition models to begin with
  • Still not clear what the finished version looks like

PROS

  • Up to 342-mile electric range
  • Standard fast-charging
  • Golf-sized outside, Passat-like inside

CONS

  • Pricey 1st Edition models to begin with
  • Still not clear what the finished version looks like

Verdict

Volkswagen has confirmed that the first of its new range of purpose-designed all-electric models will be named ID.3. As well as revealing a disguised image of the new car, it’s confirmed the launch specification and – most excitingly – opened up pre-orders for eager would-be customers.

Although Volkswagen has already produced some electrified vehicles, namely the e-Golf, e-Up and the Golf GTE and Passat GTE plug-in hybrids, the VW ID.3 is the first in the firm’s new ID electric sub-brand. These vehicles will all ride on a shared set of EV-specific underpinnings, and the range is set to expand into practical hatchbacks and SUVs as well as more wacky offerings, such as a potential electric interpretation of the classic California beach buggy.

The Volkswagen ID.3 is set to be that most elusive of cars – a truly mass-market electric vehicle (EV) that’s usable every day. While there’s not too many of these about just yet, VW does have some strong competition. First of all, there’s the Korean pairing of the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric, both of which offer more than 270 miles of range in a practical, desirable SUV package. Then there’s Tesla’s Model 3, which goes on sale in the UK in June 2019 with a minimum of 220 miles of range – not to mention hot hatchback-like performance. There’s also Nissan’s Leaf, recently updated with a 239-mile range.

What is the Volkswagen ID.3’s range?

Volkswagen ID.3 rear three quarter

The first question most people ask about an electric vehicle is how far can it go between charges? While it’s not set to be a gamechanger in terms of range, the ID.3 will offer plenty for most users.

Volkswagen will offer the ID.3 with a choice of three different battery sizes, but even the smallest will be capable of driving for more than 200 miles on a full charge. Launch editions will be supplied with the intermediate battery option, capable of 261 miles, while the most expensive long-range cars will keep going for 342 miles. These figures compare very favourably with the maximum 186 miles that VW’s current e-Golf can manage.

This vast improvement is all down to the new platform. The e-Golf’s chassis was designed to accommodate petrol and diesel engines, but the ID.3’s underpinnings – codenamed MEB – are designed specifically for electric drivetrains. That means there’s more room under the skin to efficiently locate batteries and electric motors, without impacting on passenger room.

All ID.3 models will be powered by a rear-mounted electric motor, producing 168hp. No performance figures have been released just yet, but you can expect them to be strong – if a little less impressive than the likes of the Tesla Model 3.

How long does it take to charge a Volkswagen ID.3?

All versions of the ID.3 will be equipped with 100kW fast-charging, capable of adding more than 160 miles of range in just 30 minutes when connected to a compatible charger. In addition, the first models will be offered with 2,000kWh of free credits at public charging stations, including the fast-charging Ionity network.

For customers who prefer to top up at home, a high-output wall box will be available in a choice of two power levels, allowing customers to recharge the car overnight.

What will the Volkswagen ID.3 look like?

Volkswagen ID.3 front three quarter

Volkswagen’s latest images of the ID.3 show it in heavy camouflage, so it’s impossible to see some of the finer details. However, what’s clear is that this car is a Golf-sized five-door family hatchback, but one with a rather taller silhouette than we’re accustomed to.

That upright rear and high roofline should make life easy for the passengers inside. Coupled with a really long wheelbase – that’s the space between the front and rear axles – this car could offer as much accommodation for those inside as VW’s larger Passat.

When the wraps do eventually come off in September 2019, expect the ID.3 to have its own distinct look within the Volkswagen brand. It should still be recognisable, but the flexibility designers have when building an electric vehicle compared with a petrol or diesel one means that there’s no need for traditional styling cues such as radiator grilles. Note also the large 20-inch alloy wheels – great for posing power, but they’ll likely prove expensive when it comes to fitting new tyres.

How much will the Volkswagen ID.3 cost?

Volkswagen’s already opened pre-orders for the ID.3, so willing customers can put down a deposit of £750 to secure their place in the queue.

The brand has confirmed that the initial models – named 1st for first edition – will cost less than €40,000 (£34,466) in Germany, but UK pricing isn’t yet available. Volkswagen says the price of the entry-level, 205-mile model will be less than €30,000 (£25,848), but again, we’ll have to wait to see how these figures translate once it hits the British market.

Other trim levels will follow later on in the model’s lifetime, but 1st-spec cars are set to be well equipped with sat-nav, LED matrix headlights and two-tone finishes inside and out. We hear there will be an ultra-modern digital dashboard, including head-up displays and augmented reality to overlay road traffic signs and sat-nav directions on to the windscreen ahead of the driver. You’ll also be able to unlock the electric VW by your smartphone.

When can I buy a Volkswagen ID.3?

Buyers who place a deposit with Volkswagen for one of the initial 1st edition models will be able to ask for a refund up until early 2020. At that point, they’ll be asked to finalise their order – while public order books will open for the first time, too.

First deliveries of the Volkswagen ID.3 will begin in summer 2020.

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