Volkswagen premieres its first pure EV, the ID.3

Volkswagen premieres its first pure EV, the ID.3

Volkswagen isn't new to electric vehicles, but at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany on Monday, the German carmaker unveiled the first in its series of battery-powered cars based on VW's new MEB - which means "modular electric drive matrix" - platform.

Hot on the heels of last night's big debut, the 2020 Volkswagen ID.3 is being featured in a series of videos putting the spotlight on what the company argues is its third most important vehicle after the Beetle and Golf.

Partly borne from the desire to clean its image after the Dieselgate scandal whereby the brand was caught cheating its emissions on diesel vehicles, the ID.3 is the first of a family of all-electric ID models that will include a modern remake of the legendary Kombi. Volkswagen Group, in particular, will have lots to talk about with a new VW electric vehicle and one from Porsche as well and that new hybrid Lamborghini. All told, it is investing about 11 billion euros, or $12.1 billion in the effort, part of its "goTOzero" strategy.

The dimensions of the ID.3 are similar to those of the Golf (4.26 metres long, 1.80 metres wide), while VW has (inevitably) distanced itself somewhat from the classic in terms of design. Arguably one of the most important new vehicles in recent years, the ID.3 is the first model of a completely new generation of pure electric vehicles.

The ID.3 is the next step in EV progression towards taking over from ICE cars. The ID.3 is priced at under $33,000. He explains that "It is the auto that is now expected of us", Diess said at the presentation, in which he also promised 70 new electric cars by 2028. The fact that there have been so many initial hand-raisers suggests VW may be onto something.

We now know that comes courtesy of 45 kWh, 58 kWh and 77 kWh battery packs built into the underbody. These figures are as per the WLTP cycle that is used for range testing in Europe.

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VW says 30 minutes of charging at 100kW adds 290km of range.

Buyers of the ID.3 First Edition will get 2,000 kWh worth of electricity for free using the fast-growing European WeCharge network of public charging stations. The ID.3 is also characterised by optimum weight distribution between front axle and rear axle. The company has not yet revealed specific torque or horsepower numbers, nor performance figures.

The Golf-sized hatchback has shorter overhangs, a longer wheelbase and no center tunnel to make for a spacious interior that's got seating for five and 385 liters of boot space. There will be 13 cubic feet of storage space behind the second-row seats.

Volkswagen will offer the ID.3 in three variants initially: base, 1st Plus and 1st Max.

Everything apart from the electric windows and hazard lights use touch-sensitive haptic controls, mostly located on the 10.0-inch central display and the steering wheel. All functions are controlled through a ten-inch touchscreen and a floating all-digital instrument cluster.

Quite a lot was already known before the debut presentation - not only the ID.3 but also the MEB basis. Interestingly, it is rear-wheel drive: AWD versions come later. This'll give them access to a priority ordering window early in 2020, with deliveries from mid-2020. The good news for the automaker is that battery-cars are beginning to gain some momentum after a slow start on the Continent.

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