Volkswagen ID.3 electric hatch passes 15,000 pre-orders

ID.3 name confirmed for Volkswagen’s new electric hatchback, as 'ID.3 1st' launch edition earns 15,000 pre-orders in under a week

Volkswagen has announced that its forthcoming electric hatchback will be called the ID.3, with a special-edition 'ID.3 1st' model marking the car’s launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September.

Initial demand as order books opened has been immense, according to the company: over 15,000 of the 30,000 units earmarked for Europe have already been accounted for, and it's been suggested that the UK's allocation could soon run out.

The ID.3 1st will be available in three trim levels, however UK customers will be limited to just one: the mid-range ID.3 1st Plus, boasting a 58kWh battery and 261 miles of range.

It'll be capable of 100-125kW rapid charging, giving 160 miles of range in around half an hour. Cars will also include 2,000kWh of free fast charging for the first year of ownership, although UK buyers may be limited to using IONITY’s fledgling network.

Last year, Volkswagen announced a partnership with Tesco to deliver 2,400 Pod Point chargers at its supermarket stores across the country, capable of up to 50kW. It isn’t clear if these will be included in the ID.3’s allowance.

Voice control, sat nav, LED headlights and a colour-contrast roof will all feature, with options likely to include a panoramic glass roof and a virtual reality head-up display.

UK prices haven’t been confirmed, but the entry-level ID.3 will cost from less than €30,000 (£25,800) in Germany. The ID.3 1st will be priced from under €40,000 (£34,400).

Order books are open now, with Volkswagen taking deposits of £750. Production will start at the end of 2019, with the first customer deliveries taking place in the summer of 2020.

The carmaker says it'll build 100,000 ID.3s in the car’s first year, with 110,000 to follow each year thereafter. Volkswagen says it has 20 electric vehicles in development, and plans to sell 10 million of them in the next 10 years.

Confirmed so far are the ID. Crozz (a sporty SUV) and the ID. Buzz minibus, with an ID. Scirocco coupe still a possibility. The ID.3 name paves the way for a Polo-sized electric supermini called the ID.1, with a small SUV set to use the ID.2 badge.

All of them will be built on VW Group’s MEB electric-car platform, which is also set to underpin the likes of the SEAT el-Born and Skoda Vision iV.

Volkswagen ID.3 powertrain

Not all details are confirmed yet, but Volkswagen has said that the ID.3 will come with a choice of three powertrains. At the bottom of the range will be an ID.3 with a 45kWh battery and a range of around 205 miles. It'll also have the weakest performance, but with 120bhp should compare well to a mid-range Golf.

The mid-range 58kWh model will deliver up to 261 miles on a single charge, while the top-of-the-range 77kWh version should return 342 miles under the latest WLTP efficiency test.

Meanwhile, the car will support two forms of AC charging – 7.2kW and 11kW – as well as being compatible with fast DC charging at up to 125kW via a CCS connector. Depending on battery size, charging from flat to 80% will take between 30 and 45 minutes.

The regular ID.3 hatchback also looks set to be the least complex: it'll be rear-wheel drive at first, although four-wheel-drive and sporty versions will follow in due course.

Styling

So far, we’ve only seen concept versions of the ID.3 and we expect some of their more outlandish features won’t make it into production. The sliding rear doors will probably be replaced by more conventional hinged units and the steering wheel won’t retract into the dashboard when it’s not needed.

However, Volkswagen has confirmed that all ID. models will have a black roof and tailgate to help set them apart from other cars in the brand's range.

Inside, the ID.3 should be just as distinctive, with a minimal dashboard design boasting no buttons. Plus, thanks to the way electric cars are built, the interior will be very spacious. There should be enough room for four in complete comfort and the floor will be nice and flat, however there'll be no storage at the front thanks to the positioning of the air conditioning system.

There's no glovebox either, with the only interior storage space located in the centre console.

Price and release date

Pre-orders have begun ahead of the car’s full reveal at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2019. Customers placing a deposit will be contacted in January 2020 to confirm their order, with deliveries due to start the following summer.

The starting price should be around £30,000, although the Government's plug-in car grant will give UK buyers a discount of £3,500.

While there'll be a range of models on offer, there'll be far fewer permutations of trim, colour and options than are available on the Golf, in order to make the ID.3 line-up less complex and more affordable.

Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback prototype review

Ahead of the official launch of the Volkswagen ID.3 our sister title Auto Express went for an early drive in a prototype model.

On the road, it’s evident that the ID.3 isn’t going to be the quickest electric car ever: the production version will weigh in the region of two tonnes, 500kg of which is the battery. Volkswagen says lightweight materials like aluminium would make the ID.3 too expensive, so the company is settling for leisurely performance in order to keep costs down.

The ID.3 is quiet inside, and Volkswagen has worked hard to keep the humming noise synonymous with electric cars down to an absolute minimum. As such, it should be quieter on the move than the Hyundai Kona Electric.

Volkswagen has taken a different approach with regenerative braking as well: many electric cars have paddles either side of the wheel to give drivers precise control over energy recovery, however the ID.3 won’t have these, as Volkswagen believes people won’t want them. They would only add to the price tag, too.

There'll be a regenerative braking mode, which will enable drivers to slow to a complete stop without touching the brake pedal, in much the same way that the Nissan Leaf does with its ‘e-Pedal’. However, on the prototype ID.3 at least, changes in speed felt very abrupt; Volkswagen says a more developed system will be in place by the time the car reaches showrooms.

All in all, the ID.3 looks set to be a very capable, no-frills electric hatchback, and while the performance won’t be groundbreaking, the price just might be: a post-grant figure of less than £30,000 would make it seriously affordable, especially when the fuel savings are taken into account.

Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback to be carbon-neutral

The ID. hatchback will be the world’s first completely carbon-neutral car when it launches. Volkswagen has taken steps to ensure that the manufacturing process of the ID.3 hatchback will leave no carbon footprint when production begins. The car’s battery cells will be made in Europe using green energy, while the assembly plant in Zwickau, Germany, is already running on power from renewable sources.

The carmaker is also investigating potential CO2 savings within its supply chain, and says “unavoidable” emissions will be offset by “social and ecological projects” in Asia and Brazil.

It estimates that improvements in the ID.3 hatchback’s production will save a million tonnes of CO2 annually – a level it claims is roughly equal to a coal-fired power station serving 300,000 homes over the course of a year. This decarbonisation programme will eventually be extended to other models. Volkswagen wants to be a completely carbon-neutral company by 2050.

As for the impact of running the ID.3 hatchback, Volkswagen is urging customers to charge up using electricity from renewable sources, in order to ensure carbon neutrality throughout its lifecycle.

Volkswagen’s Elli wallbox charger offers “regeneratively produced electricity”, while the IONITY network – established by a group of manufacturers including Volkswagen – offers green power “wherever available”.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our times,” said Thomas Ulbrich, the board member responsible for Volkswagen’s e-mobility programme. “To ensure that [the ID.3] remains emission-free during its lifecycle, we are working on many different ways to use green power. Truly sustainable mobility is feasible if we all want it and we all work on it.”

Volkswagen has invested billions in its electric-vehicle fleet, with production plants in Europe, the US and China.