VW ID.3 – EV for masses Pt. 2

Volkswagen has launched a new electric sub-brand called ID with ID.3 hatchback. Why did VW go the hatchback route? IS the ID.3 worth your time? Time to decode the VW ID.3.

Volkswagen has at been at the forefront of the automotive industry for years. Devoting itself for the cause of masses, the company has been the force behind some iconic nameplates in auto industry. Some of those names will not be among us for the foreseeable future like Beetle. Some (like Golf) are available to select audiences around the world. The sense behind making these cars has been the same – make cars that masses can buy and don’t skimp on bits like tech, safety, etc. In this light, VW making an all-electric car brand called ID is natural evolution. The ID.3 is the first vehicle of this new initiative. Time to see what the Volkswagen ID.3 brings to the table for the brand and for the masses.

Volkswagen ID.3 – Photo Gallery

What’s new about the Volkswagen ID.3?

The Volkswagen ID.3 marks a fresh start for the VW brand. Rising from the ashes of Dieselgate that earned VW group much scorn, the ID. brand is the reset switch for the brand and the VW group as such. It embodies VW’s mission statement of goTOzero – an aim for the VW group to go carbon neutral by 2050.

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The ID.3 is the first fully-electric vehicle under the ID. brand. It also happens to be the first car based on the MEB electric vehicle platform and it will be followed by 20 more electric vehicles over the coming decade. By the way, the car will go on sale in Germany in 2020 and its price will start at Euro 30,000.

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Now all that is quite significant but so is the car itself. But on to that in a bit. See, you can’t own an electric car and expect the infrastructure to come up. Yes, there are countries where charging stations are quite widespread but they aren’t enough. VW aims to solve this problem by offering WeCharge. It’s essentially a one year plan where ID.3 customers can charge their cars for free.

Supposing you happen to be one of them, you will get access to 4,000 VW showrooms and service centres around Europe. Also, you will be able to access 400 charging stations VW has planned with Ionity (which VW also holds a stake in). The slightly bad news is you’ll be limited to 2,000kW usage or 1 year, the operating theme likely being whichever is earlier.

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If all those details look good/promising, the car is worth talking about too. The Volkswagen ID.3 is being made at the company’s Zwickau plant in Germany. Quick recap about the car – first product based on MEB platform, will launch in Germany in 2020, and prices will start from Euro 30,000. The car will have three variants based on their range and equipment list.

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Let’s talk about the common stuff among the three ID.3 variants. All will be powered by a permanent-magnet synchronous motor with a single speed gearbox powering the rear wheels. Total system output will be 204HP power and 310Nm torque. The car will hit 160kmph top speed and the battery pack will be covered by an 8-year/1,60,000km guarantee.

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The Volkswagen ID.3 offers some interesting features. One of them is Augmented Reality Heads-up Display (AR HUD). It is essentially an HUD which projects information a few meters ahead of the car to help you with tasks like turn-by-turn navigation.

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Speaking of navigation, VW Light is also used here that comprises of an LED strip to assist with navigation. Also, AR HUD can be optioned on lower trims while the top variant gets it as standard equipment.

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A windscreen-mounted camera in the ID.3 helps it identify road signs. This helps the various driving and comfort aids on offer on the car. These aids include front assist, multi-collision braking, lane keep assist, lane change assist, park assist, keyless entry system, and park distance control. It gets a voice assistant that can be called by saying “Hello ID”.

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On the inside, the Volkswagen ID.3 has almost no tactile buttons, save for power window and hazard light switches. All buttons on the steering wheel or around the infotainment screen are touch-sensitive. Making its way from Audi is the Matrix LED lighting system on the ID.3.

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Working in conjunction with the windscreen-mounted camera, this system helps illuminate the road ahead without blinding other road users. Also, if you approach your parked ID.3 and unlock it, it will ‘flutter its eyelids’, a feature likely made possible by the Matrix LED lighting system.

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Coming to looks, the VW ID.3 looks quite nice and inviting. Since there’s no engine in the car, its front end is quite short by traditional hatchback standards. Its design is both modern and easy on the eye. There are no sharp cuts on the body and the short overhangs give it an athletic feel. I feel it would have looked better without that rear spoiler but that’s a non-issue in what essentially is a good design.

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Styling wise, one thing you’ll see quite a bit on the ID.3 is honeycomb pattern. It is present on the front bumper and the C-pillar. If you look carefully up front, you will see how VW has styled the car to look as if it is smiling.

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Those swept-back headlamps, a small slat above the bumper plate housing, and honeycomb pattern around the front air dam give it a nice face. On the sides, those star-shaped wheels give it some flair.

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It is the rear end of the ID.3 that doesn’t look as nice as the rest of the car. It’s all got to do with that black treatment and that rear spoiler. What also gives a little jarring effect to all the styling are those taillamps. They look edgy on a car which mostly sports soft design and styling elements. All in all, I do like the ID.3 and so will you. Just overlook some bits, would you?

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The cabin of the all-electric ID.3 is a nice place to be in. It is a minimalist’s dream place to be in. Laid out in a dual-tone colour scheme, you will have to contend with a few shapes. The absence of buttons may not be to your liking but it does give the interior a clean aesthetic. The driver is greeted by a fully-digital instrument console behind a flat-bottomed steering wheel with touch-sensitive controls.

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The infotainment duties are handled by a 10-inch floating touchscreen display centrally mounted on the dashboard. There is nothing connecting the centre console to the dashboard as such, contributing to the sense of space in the cabin.

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The dual-tone dashboard design is carried over to the door cards and features ambient lighting where the two layers intersect. Also, there is a tri-tone interior colour scheme on offer.

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The throttle and brake pedals with play and pause symbols on them is a good styling touch in ID.3’s cabin. Another cool touch are those cup-holders and two other stowage spaces on the centre console. I am not a fan of floating touchscreens but whatever. At least there is no centre tunnel running through the cabin.

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Coming to the variants, the base version of Volkswagen ID.3 gets 45kWh battery pack with 330km range. It gets onboard navigation, DAB+ digital radio, heated seats and steering wheels, front armrests, Mode 2 charging cable, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

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Over this, the ID.3 1st Plus adds rear view camera, adaptive cruise control, keyless access two USB-C ports on centre console, ambient lighting, tinted windows, matrix LED lighting, 19-inch wheels, and Exterior Style package in Silver. Also, it gets a 54kWh battery pack with 420km range.

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The ID.3 1st Max offers everything offered on the lower variants. Additionally, it offers AR HUD, Beats sound system with 8 speakers and a subwoofer, panoramic sun-roof, 20-inch wheels, mobile telephony with wireless charging, comfort seats, level luggage compartment floor, and driving aids like lane keep assist with emergency assist and lane change assist. It gets 77kWh battery pack that offers 550km range. In either variant, VW says if you use a 100kW charger for 30 minutes, your car will have enough juice to cover 290km.

Is the Volkswagen ID.3 worth consideration?

For those considering the Volkswagen ID.3, you’ll have to wait if you’re not in Europe. That’s because VW hasn’t revealed any plans of countries it will be selling the car in. However, that should not detract from what a wonderful package this car seems on paper.

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Think about it – is there a small electric car today that you can consider viable like the Tesla Model 3 and Model S are? I am yet to come across a car that can come close to the range Teslas offer and not cost high five figures.

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The ID.3 isn’t quite on Tesla level in terms of range but offering between 300-600km range is nothing to scoff at. Moreover, with some more development and cost reduction, it can finally be the car that masses would actually love to buy.

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You may not have it on your to-buy list but I am sure it will feature on your window-shopping list the next time you go looking for a car. A Tesla-beater it may not be, but the Volkswagen ID.3 is a car tailored for urban dwellers and that’s reason enough for it to be considered.

Volkswagen ID.3 – Specs at a Glance

SpecificationsVolkswagen ID.3
PriceEuro 30,000 onward (approx Rs 23.69 lakh at current exchange rate)
EnginePermanent-magnet synchronous motor (rear axle)
Power204HP
Torque310Nm
TransmissionSingle-speed automatic
Front SuspensionN/A
Rear SuspensionN/A
Front BrakesN/A
Rear BrakesN/A
Length4,261mm
Width1,809mm
Height1,552mm
Wheelbase2,765mm
Range330km-550km
Battery Pack Capacity45kWh/58kWh/77kWh

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