autoevolution

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 Review

BODY TYPE: Hatchback
For about a decade, Volkswagen has been testing various electric drivetrain configurations across its brands. Most of the cars that resulted have however been retrofitted existing models, whose ICE engines and other hardware got swapped with batteries and motors. 
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From 2019 onwards tough, Volkswagen is officially joining the electric cars race, and there seems to be nothing stopping it from taking it over as well.

Having developed a unique platform for its EV family – the MEB - Volkswagen presented at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show the first car of the ID family. The vehicle is called ID.3, and it is a compact hatchback with electric power for the masses.

1Exterior design & features

The MEB platform on which the ID.3 is built is modular, meaning it will underpin all future electric VAG cars, as well as models from other carmakers such as Ford. In the case of the ID.3, MEB was configured for a long-wheelbase, and the car’s body drawn with short overhangs.
 
Comparable in size with the Golf (4,261 mm long, 1,809 mm wide and 1,552 mm high) the ID.3 shows a new design language, one we expect to see some more on the cars of this new family. 

And it all starts at the front, where the car has dropped the decades-old grille in favor of a fully-closed body, as the air needed to cool the car’s components makes its way inside from under the prominent bumper.

The front hood of the ID.3 is divided into two sections by a line linking the two LED headlights. As usual, the VW logo sits in the middle. 

The hood and the glass rear hatch are painted in a different color than the body, hinting to a variety of personalization choices for customers. Both the sides and the rear looks clean-cut, with no unnecessary adornments. 

The panorama sliding/tilting glass roof fitted on the ID.3 is the largest Volkswagen is currently fielding (it is only offered for the ID.3 1ST version).

2Interior design, features
and passenger space

The same long wheelbase that makes the ID.3 comparable in size with the Golf provides just the right amount of interior space for the five people traveling inside. Coupled with the lack of a center tunnel, it makes the ID.3 interior “larger than that in any other vehicle in its category.”

Once the doors are opened, the interior reveals itself to be borderline spartan, and somehow reminiscent of how Tesla likes to make its cars. Stripped to the bare minimum, the dashboard features two screens, one in front of the steering wheel and the other in the center, both not built into the dashboard, but floating above it. 

Look for as long as you like, you’ll not find a single piece of unnecessary equipment, no unwanted buttons, no useless decorations. Volkswagen calls all this interior concept Open Space.

Behind the rear seats, there a decent amount of luggage space, namely a boot that can hold 385 liters of cargo.

3Gadgets

The simple design of the interior hides, however, a very technologically advanced car. Volkswagen plans in the near future to integrate its vehicles in a virtual environment the likes of which the industry has never seen, and the ID.3 is the first step. 

The central screen we mentioned earlier is sized 10-inches and is used to display all the relevant information to the driver, as these screens usually do in modern-day cars. The most important function it performs, giving directions, is made possible with the use of an updatable map.

The car also debuts the ID light concept, a feature that assists the driver by giving prompts on when to brake, for instance, when danger is detected.

In all, there are just two of the car’s systems that can be controlled with tactile switches: the electric windows and the hazard warning lights. All other controls can be operated through touchscreens or, in some cases, by using voice commands by saying “hello ID.” 

Like most other electric cars, the ID.3 too comes with a dedicated app that allows, among other things, remote control over some of its functions. 

Optional features designed for the ID.3 include an augmented reality heads-up display and a keyless entry system

4Performance

The ID.3 is a rear-wheel-drive car powered by electricity. It uses a permanent-magnet synchronous motor mounted on the rear axle, a 1-speed gearbox, and an electric battery. 

With the ID.3 (as with the Honda e), the world steps into the realm of EVs model being offered with more than one battery option, greatly increasing the available choices. In the case of the Germans, the list includes three different variants of the battery, meant for different types of customers. 

The entry-level ID.3 uses a 45 kWh battery that should provide a range of up to 330 km (205 miles). It is probably this version that will form the backbone of ID.3 sales, as its price in Europe will be under €30,000.

The mid-range variant (it too expected to become extremely popular) gets its power from a 58 kW battery good for a range of 420 km (261 miles), while the top of the range 77 kWh version could go as far as 550 km on a single charge (342 miles). All these ranges are measured under the WLTP test cycle. 

The mid-range battery, which will be deployed on the 1st version of the ID.3 that will be first available, can be recharged from a 100 kW source to about 80 percent capacity in 30 minutes.

Regardless of the battery choice, each is covered by eight years or 160,000 km warranty. 

5Safety

Constructed around a purpose-built platform, the battery of the ID.3 was integrated directly into the underbody, allowing for a low center of gravity and better control. 

Driver assist technologies are aplenty, and they include emergency braking, pedestrian monitoring, multicollision brake assist, lane assist, and park assist.

6Conclusion

For about a decade now, carmakers the likes of Tesla or Nissan have been fighting to make EVs stick. They partially did so, but it will require the strength of Volkswagen to make them more common perhaps than ICE cars. 

Volkswagen is one of the planet’s largest carmakers, and placing all its might behind a line of electric cars is sure to forever change the industry. 

The ID.3 will be the locomotive for the ID family, and it already seems to be a successful one: over 30,000 people have already booked an ID.3 in Europe, and a lot more are probably about to. 

The first ID.3 cars will be delivered in Germany from mid-2020.