After three years of evolution from the original ID concept, the Volkswagen ID.3 is now ready to go on sale.
It is the first model in VW's new ID range of all-electric vehicles to go into mass-production, and is arguably the most important car for the company - perhaps for any car maker - in at least a generation.
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The 3 of the car's name has two meanings. First, it identifies where in the future range of ID cars it sits - between a future ID.2 and ID.4 - but it also denotes the car as the successor to the Volkswagen Beetle and the Golf. Following in the tire tracks of those two cars is no mean feat, and the ID.3 will have to be a huge commercial success to live up to these lofty expectations.
A Golf-sized small family car, the ID.3 has a playful, minimalist design and is the first car to wear Volkswagen's new logo, also revealed in Frankfurt this week. The car will be offered with three sizes of battery (45, 58 and 77kWh) with respective ranges of 205, 261 and 340 miles.
The ID.3 has a range of between 205 and 340 milesGearBrain
VW says the car can charge at a rate of up to 100kW, but the base model will only offer half this (which, Tesla Supercharger aside, is about the limit for today's public EV chargers). The top-end ID.3 will offer 125kWh hours of range. Volkswagen says the car can receive 155 miles of range in 30 minutes when using a 100kWh charger, like those offered by the European Ionity.
This is the first time an electric car maker has included charging speed as an upgrade option, as opposed to vehicle performance and battery size. We'll be interested to see if other makers, and other members of the Volkswagen Group, follow suit.
Inside, the ID.3 has two displays in place of conventional dials. Similar to the dashboard of the BMW i3, one display sits behind the steering wheel, while the other sides in the centre of the dashboard. This screen controls the car's climate and infotainment systems. The steering wheel includes the usual range of media playback buttons, some of which click while others are touch sensitive. Swiping across the volume buttons to quickly raise or lower the volume, for example, feels fairly natural.
The interior has two displays and no analogue dialsGearBrain
That said, a Volkswagen representative admitted to us that the company expects the new ID.3's system to take some getting used to, as it is a complete departure from anything VW has offered before.
The ID.3 is just 3mm longer, 10mm wider and 60mm taller than the current generation Golf, while the wheelbase is 145mm longer, thanks to the more compact dimensions of its electric drivetrain.
Coming just a few years after Volkswagen was rocked by the diesel emissions scandal, the ID.3 represents a fresh start for the company. The car is one of 70- new electric models the VW Group plans to launch between now and 2028 - and in the same time frame the company expects to sell 70 million electric cars worldwide.
The dashboard has a large central touch screenGearBrain
This will make a meaningful difference to the environment, as the VW Group says it alone is responsible for 1% of global CO2 emissions. When the entire manufacturing, use and recycling of the ID.3 is taken into account, its CO2 footprint is half that of an equivalent internal combustion car.
The ID.3 will be priced from "under €30,000" ($33,000) before tax credits and incentives, but Volkswagen is yet to elaborate on this, and it hasn't yet revealed its plans for selling the ID.3 in the US. That said, future members of the ID range will be US-bound over the coming years.