Volkswagen ID.3 electric: specs, price, details and release date

Limited-edition ID.3 1ST starts at £35,880 after PiCG; first customer cars have now arrived in the UK

Volkswagen ID.3 electric

The first customer-bound Volkswagen ID.3 electric cars have arrived in the UK at the port of Grimsby (above), on their way to the VW dealer network to be delivered to customers. Official orders for these limited-edition ID.3 1ST models opened in the UK on 22 July, but slots were reserved for customers who'd previously placed a £750 deposit to secure a pre-booking.

Volkswagen started taking general orders for the ID.3 in its home market of Germany and other European countries on 20 July, with seven pre-configured models available to buy initially – all of which are also confirmed for the UK. Equipment packs available for the full production version of the ID.3 are named Life, Style, Business, Family, Tech and Max (equipment detailed below). All get a 58kWh battery and 201bhp electric motor for an official driving range of 261 miles and a 0-37mph time of 3.4 seconds – a drivetrain VW calls ProPerformance.

A second drivetrain, called ProS, is also available. This has the same 201bhp electric motor, but a larger 77kWh battery, boosting range to 342 miles. It's offered with a Tour equipment pack, and the extra space needed to accommodate this battery means this version of the ID.3 is a four-seater, not a five-seater.

Prices for the series production model in Germany run from just over €35,000 (£31,000) for the basic model with no equipment packs fitted, to just under €46,000 (£41,000) for the ProS Tour, but exact prices and a general ordering date haven’t been confirmed for the UK just yet.

Volkswagen ID.3 pricing, trim levels and specifications

The Golf-sized ID.3 is initially launching as a limited-edition ‘1ST’ model, which in Europe is offered in three guises. The UK is only being offered the mid-spec 1ST Plus, which costs £38,880 before the Plug-in Car Grant. All ID.3 1STs are now pre-booked and formal ordering for those in the UK who've reserved one begins on 22 July.

For everyone else, sales of the standard production car start in Europe on 20 July and at a later to-be-confirmed date in the UK. For these, sat nav, adaptive cruise control and wireless phone charging are standard across the range; there are then seven pre-configured equipment packs to choose from.

Life includes steering-wheel heating, seat heating and two extra USB-C ports, while Style adds matrix LED headlights, LED tail-lights and a panoramic glass roof. Business cars sport matrix LED headlights, along with tinted windows, a comfort package, a rear-view camera and keyless access. Family brings together the matrix LED headlights and panoramic glass roof with two-zone air-conditioning, a rear-view camera and keyless access.

The ID.3 Tech focuses on driver-assistance systems and in-car technology, coming with semi-autonomous driving features as well as major infotainment package including a head-up display and premium audio system. Max is the range-topper and includes all the equipment from the other packages, along with a 12-way adjustable massage seat, progressive steering and dynamic cruise control.

All those models (and the 1ST Plus) get the ProPerformance drivetrain, consisting of a 58kWh battery and 201bhp motor. There's also the ProS drivetrain, which is available with its own Tour equipment pack. This long-range version of the ID.3 has the same electric motor as the other cars, but a larger 77kWh battery, boosting the car's driving range to 342 miles.

Additional space needed to fit this battery sees the seating capacity drop from five to four in this version, but the Tour equipment pack is generous, with a head-up display, matrix LED headlights, comfort package, 12-way massage seat, the full suite of driver-assistance systems and 19-inch aluminium wheels all included.

Issues with the ID.3's software development mean that Tech and Max cars delivered starting in October will be missing their AppConnect smartphone connectivity and augmented-reality parking assistance capability, however these functions will be added to the cars in January 2021 with a free software update. Cars delivered from January 2021 will come with the features already installed.

Prices for the series production model in Germany run from just over €35,000 (£31,000) for the basic model with no equipment packs fitted, to just under €46,000 (£41,000) for the ProS Tour, but exact prices haven’t been confirmed for the UK just yet.

Volkswagen ID.3

Battery, charging and electric motor

The ID.3 ProPerformance drivetrain – fitted to the 1ST version and six out of seven of the regular production model's equipment packs – consists of a 58kWh battery and an electric motor producing 201bhp at the rear wheels for a 261-mile driving range. All ID.3s fitted with this drivetrain are five-seaters.

The ID.3 ProS drivetrain – available either in entry-level form or with the Tour equipment pack – consists of a 77kWh battery for a 342-mile driving range. It makes the car a four-seater due to the space needed for the extra battery cells. A cheaper, shorter-range version of the ID.3, with a 45kWh battery and a range of 205 miles, is expected to join the range in due course. It's expected to be known as the Pure and cost less than €30,000 (£27,000).

Every UK car will get 100kW DC fast charging capability, as well as two forms of AC charging – 7.2 and 11kW. Volkswagen has confirmed it will offer even quicker 125kW charging at a later date. Volkswagen is offering ID.3 1ST buyers a year of free charging (up to 2,000kWh) on the fledgling IONITY network, as well as an eight-year/99,000-mile warranty on its battery unit for peace of mind.

Volkswagen ID.3

Design and dimensions

The ID.3’s design is markedly different from Volkswagen's other models. Short overhangs, a long wheelbase, flowing surfaces, a unique honeycomb design on the C-pillar, a black glass bootlid surrounded by slim LED lights and a black panoramic roof set it apart. Three alloy-wheel sizes will be available: 18, 19 and 20 inches.

As an electric car doesn’t require large cooling ports, the focal point for the front of the ID.3 are its ‘interactive’ LED matrix headlights. One of the ‘party tricks’ of these lights is that to make the car ‘flutter its eyelids’ when the driver approaches. The headlights also feature Dynamic Light Assist main-beam control, which uses a camera on the windscreen to monitor the road and adjust the lights to avoid dazzling other motorists.

Volkswagen has also announced that the ID.3 will feature the company’s new ID. Light technology, which uses an LED strip in the cabin convey information the driver. It says the ID. Light changes colour to show when the car is switched on and if it's locked or unlocked. Green indicates a fully charged battery, while red acts as a warning during braking. The LED strip will blink to recommend changing lanes, and also signal incoming phone calls.

The ID.3 is as long as a Golf, at 4.2 metres, and is 1.8 metres wide, 1.5 metres high and weighs 1,700kg. With a turning circle of 10.2 metres, it has been engineered to be easy to drive in urban environments. There’s also a special towing bracket incorporated in the rear bumper of the ID.3 for carrying bikes.

Volkswagen ID.3

Interior and technology

Inside, Volkswagen says, the five-seat ID.3 should feel spacious and airy. It doesn’t have a centre tunnel, freeing up space between front and rear, and with short overhangs VW has been able to maximise every millimetre of space. The boot is big, too, holding 385 litres with the seats up thanks to a flat battery. The low placement of the battery should help with the car’s handling, too.

There’s a centrally positioned 10-inch touch screen and an LED light strip for navigation that can also warn you to brake. An optional head-up display projects relevant information on to the windscreen, and all the buttons are touch-sensitive. There’s also natural voice control, allowing drivers and passengers to talk to the car in a more human way, while safety technology is plentiful. A camera on the windscreen identifies road signs, and there’s emergency braking, pedestrian monitoring and lane-keeping aids.

Low-speed sound signature

Volkswagen previewed the low-speed sound signature that its ID.3 electric hatchback will emit in order to warn other road users of its presence at the 'DRIVE.Forum' event in Berlin in early December 2019.

As of July 2019, all newly introduced electric cars have had to come with a sound generator that emits noise at speeds up to 30kph (19mph), as well as when moving off or reversing. This came in response to concerns that other road users – such as pedestrians and cyclists, and in particular visually impaired people – could be in danger of not noticing a nearby electric car due to its near-silent running.

The setup is known as an Acoustic Vehicle Alert System (AVAS), and although the volume of sound emitted is specified by regulations, the noise itself is not, which gives car manufacturers the opportunity to develop different 'sound signatures' to set their models apart. You can hear the ID.3's by playing the embedded video above.

The AVAS in the ID.3 can be heard both inside and outside at up to 19mph. Inside the vehicle, different stages of the driving sound can be heard based on your speed and accelerator pedal position. Beyond this speed, the vehicle’s rolling resistance and driving noise become more prominent.

Commenting on the sound, VW's chief development officer for passenger cars, Dr Frank Welsch, said: "An electric vehicle’s sound defines its identity. The sound should be confident and likeable. It may well sound futuristic and must also impress with its unique character."