Volkswagen Signals New EV Era with Launch of ID.3

The new ID.3 compact car marks the start of Volkswagen’s giant investment in the electric-propulsion future.

The ID.3 is the first production vehicle to be based on Volkswagen’s EV-specific MEB vehicle architecture, but it will not be sold in the U.S. (Volkswagen)

Multi-brand, multinational automotive powerhouse Volkswagen crossed a strategic inflection point when its all-new ID.3 electric vehicle (EV) was revealed at the 2019 Frankfurt auto show. There’s no turning back, the company insists, from its intent to effectively eliminate use of internal-combustion propulsion for passenger vehicles — on a stated timeline that sees 10 million new EVS produced in the next decade and the entire Volkwagen Group “CO2-neutral” by 2050.

In what may establish a template for future EV marketing, the ID.3 will be sold with three battery-size options. (Volkswagen)

With sales starting in Germany in mid-2020, the ID.3 small car is the first production vehicle based on the company’s long-touted MEB architecture dedicated to underpinning a wide range of EV models. Sagely, the ID.3 is not intended to be sold in SUV-crazed America — an ID.4 crossover variant reportedly will be launched for the U.S. market early in 2021.

Efficient dimensions, rear-wheel drive

The 5-seat ID.3 essentially is the same general size as VW’s iconic Golf, but shorter overhangs mean its wheelbase-to-overall-length ratio makes its interior roomier than many conventional vehicles in the class. The company said the ID.3’s wheelbase is 2765 mm (108.9 in.), overall length is 4261 mm (167.8 in.) and perhaps most critically when it comes to EVs, base curb weight is 1719 kg (3790 lb.).

The ID.3 cabin promotes an enhanced perception of spaciousness, new ideas for instrument configuration and will be almost devoid of physical switches. (Volkswagen)
The ID.3’s new-age instrument cluster. (Volkswagen)

Volkswagen said the new EVs turning circle is a compact 10.2 m (33.5 ft), “ideally-suited for urban environments.” The company also claims a more-spacious perception for the cabin and organic shapes that emphasize the interior’s openness.

In a driveline configuration that certainly wouldn’t suit North American traction preferences for all-wheel drive (or at least front-wheel drive), the ID.3’s single permanent-magnet drive motor is integrated with a single-speed transmission and controlling power electronics and is situated at the rear axle. The motor develops 150 kW (201 hp) and a maximum of 310 Nm (229 lb-ft), Volkswagen said at the Frankfurt show. Top speed is 160 km/h (99 mph).

Battery choice means driving-range choice

In another significant market-facing strategy, when the ID.3 begins series production, there will be a choice of three battery-pack capacities. A base 45-kWh lithium-ion battery pack will offer a maximum driving range — based on the European Union’s Worldwide Light-vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) driving cycle — of 330 km (205 mi.). A 58-kWh pack, the capacity being used for all initially-produced ID.3 “1ST” models, delivers a maximum range of 420 km (261 mi.) and a maximum-range battery pack has a capacity of 77 kW that provides range of 550 km (342 mi.).

Recharging capacity varies for the respective battery-pack sizes, with 7.2-kW alternating-current (AC) charging and 50-kW DC charging for the 45-kWh pack and 11-kW/125 kW for the largest 77-kWh battery. The company said the mid-range 58-kWh battery, using 100-kW DC fast-charging, can be replenished with 290 km (180 mi.) of range in 30 minutes.