New Volkswagen ID.3: name confirmed and order books open

Volkswagen ID.3 name confirmed for brand's first ID. model, as order books open and launch edition model is detailed

The Volkswagen ID.3 is now available for pre-order in the UK, and the first editions of the car available here will have around 260 miles of range and 110kW fast charging as standard.

VW launched pre-orders via a microsite today for the ID.3 1st Plus – a high-spec, launch edition version of the brand’s first ID. model. First deliveries of the car – the first VW to be produced on the MEB all-electric platform – aren’t expected until summer 2020. Customers pay £750 and they will then be contacted early next year to confirm their order, once official prices and full specs have been confirmed.

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However, it’s already likely that the first ID.3s will be considerably more expensive than the stated goal of the car costing “as much as a well-specced diesel Golf”. The UK spec is the middle trim level of the ID.3 1st range of launch models, and VW has only confirmed that the entry point for the more expensive launch line-up will be “less than €40,000 in Germany”. That could mean that the very first batch of ID.3 models to arrive will cost up to £40,000 in the UK – although there’s no confirmation yet on the final figure.

Those British launch editions will come with a hefty range of standard kit, including satellite navigation, voice control, LED matrix headlights and a contrast-colour roof. Options are likely to include a panoramic glass roof and an augmented-reality head-up display.

Cars will also include 2,000kWh of free fast charging during the first year of ownership although for British customers, this may only really be useful on the fledgling IONITY fast-charging network. VW UK is still finalising what other points will be tied to the allowance.

Once the line-up moves beyond the launch spec 1st models the ID.3 will be available with three different battery sizes, offering ranges of 330km (205 miles), 420km (261 miles) and 550km (342 miles) under the WLTP testing regime. Volkswagen has reiterated that the starting price of the entry level 205 mile model will be “under €30,000” (£26,000). Battery sizes are 45kWh, 58kWh and 77kWh respectively. 

All versions of the car should come with the ability to charge at up to 100-125kW, giving around 162 miles of range in 30 minutes. The ID.3 1st Plus will have the mid-range 58kWh battery capable of 261 miles, promising to match the likes of the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro on real-world range.

The choice of name for the first ID. model is significant, because VW says it “signals the potential for expansion into bigger and smaller models”. That’s likely to be a reference to the MEB entry family, details of which emerged at the company’s annual press conference last month. Naming the Golf-sized launch model the ID.3 allows scope for a Polo-sized hatchback to be ID.1, and then a small SUV can carry the ID.2 badge.

VW says it will deliver 100,000 ID.3 models in 2020, the car’s first full year of production, and that this figure will rise to 110,000 units per year thereafter. The numbers on the ID.3 1st will be more limited, however, with just 30,000 examples available across 29 countries. There’s no word yet on how many of those cars have been allocated to the UK but the country is described as one of the main target countries for the model.

VW ID.3 to be a carbon-neutral car at launch

The first versions of the VW ID.3 will carbon-neutral at handover, the German firm has claimed. It’s the first step on the road to a target of being a completely carbon-neutral company by 2050.

Volkswagen claims a variety of measures have been implemented to help reduce CO2 output during production of the ID.3, including converting factories to run on natural gas and greater use of renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power. VW says has also tasked its vast supplier base to use green energy and minimize their carbon emissions. It all means that if the ID.3 is recharged from green energy, it will remain CO2 neutral througout its lifecycle. 

To offset areas of the business that cannot yet use green energy, VW is also engaging in ‘social and ecological projects’ in Asia and Brazil, to help some of the most vulnerable ecosystems in the world.

Carbon-neutral recharging solutions for customers are also being developed, which include VW’s Elli wallbox charger and the IONITY rapid charging network across mainland Europe. Both are claimed to be fuelled by green energy.

New Volkswagen ID. family to stretch up and down segments

While Volkswagen has opted to start the process of rolling out the ID. family with a Golf-sized hatchback, the firm has plans to develop smaller and larger models and claims that over 20 different Volkswagen cars using MEB are currently in development. 

Additionally, Volkswagen has trademarked a range of potential names for core ID. models using the same numerical system as ID.3, ranging from ID.1 to ID.8. 

Speaking to Auto Express at the launch of the ID.3 pre-booking service, Volkswagen sales and marketing boss Jurgen Stackmann revealed what we can expect next:

“The cars coming next are compact class cars; Frankfurt will be reveal of the ID.3 and we’ll also give you idea of what’s coming next. 

“But in the medium to long term, we need to scale down and be more aggressive on affordable prices. But we need time to industrialise on that; we’re starting something new and it will be some time before we can take the next step. So we start with ID.3, and there are numbers below and numbers above. You will see all of that appearing – more likely the numbers above before the numbers below, I would say.”

It strongly suggests that the next ID. model will be a C-segment SUV based on the ID. Crozz concept, which would in effect take on the ID.4 nameplate and will be previewed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. 

As for cheaper models below the ID.3 hatchback, the ID.1 would more than likely shape up as a supermini-sized EV based on an evolution of the MEB platform, with the ID.2 a compact SUV to complement it. Both have been hinted at by VW bosses.

Stackmann also confirmed that the ID.3 will be a key fixture on Volkswagen forecourts when it launches:

“Yes, you will see ID3. in dealers. People want to touch them. People are online doing their whole life but they still want to touch the car when they buy it. So yes, you will need to be able to touch the car, drive the car, get the experience. Especially when it’s offering something you don’t know. That’s why our dealers are so important. Some people see the network as a problem but we see it as an asset.”

During the buying process, potential customers will also have access to ‘real world’ range estimates alongside the WLTP calculated range of cars in the ID. Line up. “We don’t want to trick our customers on this”, explained Stackmann.

New Volkswagen ID.3 hatch: spy shots and official teasers

The ID.3 is a five-door C-segment hatchback which at 4.25 metres long is almost identical in size to a Golf.

The use of Volkswagen’s all-new electric vehicle ‘MEB’ platform means the wheelbase is around 20cm longer than a Golf, at roughly 2.83 metres. As a result, interior space should be similar to that of a Passat. Boot space is also expected to measure up closely to a Golf, so expect around 380 litres with all five seats in place.

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Initially, the ID. will have a single rear-mounted electric motor powering the back wheels only. But four-wheel drive versions (and higher-performance options) are expected to follow later.

Looking at spy shots and teaser images it’s clear to see how Volkswagen has gently redesigned the original ID concept from the 2016 Paris Motor Show into a production ready design. 

Our most recent sightings of ID.3 development mules on the road and Volkswagen’s latest official teaser images show that the overall shape and profile of the vehicle has barely changed. It’s still a tall roofed hatchback with a large windscreen lending itself to a cab forward design. The overhangs are still distinctly short, while the back end of the ID.3 retains the concept car’s flat tailgate and window. Volkswagen has only had to remove some typical concept car elements, such as the suicide opening doors and the headlights, though the ID.3’s units will still be interactive and will still greet owners with a ‘wink’.

Some of the panelwork is a little more straightforward too, while it’ll ride on a more sensible set of wheels. Our exclusive image below previews how it could look. 

We haven’t seen in the cabin yet, but we can look to sister brand SEAT and the el-Born concept for a decent idea of how the ID.3 should look inside. The el-Born concept is a 90 per cent finished look at what will be SEAT’s electric C-segment hatchback based on MEB and will share plenty with the ID.3. The dashboard is pushed right up against the windscreen, while a small digital instrument panel is present behind the wheel. A larger ‘floating’ infotainment unit is angled towards the driver, while the lack of a transmission tunnel means there should be plenty of room up front.

Volkswagen ID.3 performance and specification

Each of the three battery capacities will be paired with e-motors offering different power outputs. Christian Senger, VW’s Head of Product Line for E-Mobility, told Auto Express last year: “The entry-level car will have a WLTP range of 330km (205 miles), and it will also have more limited performance. If people want a faster car then I don’t want them coming back after three months telling me that it’s fast but that the range is too short. So if you want a fast car, you’ll need a bigger battery – simple.”

Charging will be catered for via two forms of AC charging – 7.2kW and 11kW – plus DC charging at up to 125kW via a CCS connection; the maximum that can be achieved with the car’s 400-volt electrical systems. This latter method should result in an 80 percent charge in 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the battery.

UK specifically, Volkswagen recently revealed a new partnership with supermarket Tesco, which will see 600 stores install fast or rapid chargers by 2020.

Senger said buyers should expect a less complex buying or leasing process with ID. cars – not least because the company has removed many of the intricacies of combustion-engined line-ups in a bid to raise economies of scale and cut costs. “There will still be enough versions of ID.3,” he told us, “but it will be much less complex, yes. You’ll still be able to choose different colours and specs of seats, but you won’t get the thousands of permutations that come with, say, a combustion-engined Golf. Complexity costs, and you have to remember that our goal with ID. is Electric for All.”

The prototype platform shown at VW’s launch event revealed predictably short overhangs for a car that doesn’t have a combustion engine or an exhaust – and a multi-link suspension arrangement at the rear to accommodate the electric motor.

The chassis also includes a large area ahead of the dashboard – space freed up by the lack of a combustion engine – that VW will use to install a projection system for an augmented-reality navigation display. This was previewed on the original ID. concept but the bare chassis indicates that it is likely to make production, at least as an option. There’s also a gap where an induction charging panel could be installed, as and when the technology becomes available.

The ID.3 will be VW’s first permanently online vehicle, allowing a range of services to be offered to customers through the cloud, and over-the-air updates to be installed in the same way as Tesla does with its cars. Only three of the car’s electronic control units (ECUs) are unable to be updated wirelessly.

Senger revealed that VW had even considered installing one set of hardware and allowing the user to activate or deactivate features via smartphone apps, but he added: “We did the numbers and it was still too expensive. You can’t just put heated seats in every car and then charge some people for them; the unit cost is too much.”

VW has confirmed that the ID.3 hatch will be built at its Zwickau factory, and stated that it is investing €1.2billion (£1.1billion) in the plant. The company says that the factory will be able to produce 1,500 ID. cars per day, although Senger said that this full capacity wouldn’t come on stream until 2021.

VW says that across the wider group – so including its own brand plus SEAT, Audi and Skoda – it expects 27 pure-electric MEB models to be on sale by the end of 2022. And that in total, 10 million vehicles will be based on the first wave of the MEB platform, which has been conceived from the ground up to accommodate batteries and electric motors, with no compromise for combustion-engined variants.

The company has also detailed how other production sites in Germany are being adapted for MEB. The battery systems factory in Braunschweig will expand to capacity for half a million battery packs per year, while the facilities at Salzgitter (rotors) and Kassel (electric motors) will also receive fresh investment. VW says it plans to spend €1.3billion (£1.2billion) across these three sites.

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