2020 Volkswagen ID.3 1st Edition priced from £36,000

Volkswagen has finally stepped into the EV scene, and in a big way with the new ID.3 hatchback

The all-new ID.3 is a bespoke electric car designed to be Volkswagen’s third big influence in modern motoring after the Beetle and the Golf. The first of those mobilised a generation, the next defined the C-segment hatchback. And the ID.3? Volkswagen is hoping it will open up electric mobility to the masses with an affordable battery electric vehicle – one that it is betting on will genuinely be able to replace an internal combustion car for a majority of road users. It might not strike the traditional chords with us, but it is a significant car at a significant time, and one of the first full-scale reactions to our changing automotive landscape.

Though details of lesser models are still under wraps, Volkswagen has announced that orders for the ID.3 1st Edition are now open for those that pre-booked a slot. Priced from £36,000 (including government grant), it’s certainly not cheap, putting it above the BMW i3 and just £2900 below the base-model Tesla Model 3. In return, buyers receive 1st Edition badging, a two-tone honeycomb decal, LED headlights, 19-inch wheels and a host of other kit as standard.

As for specs, it boasts a WLTP-certified range of 260 miles through the use of a 58kWh battery pack, with a 150kW electric motor sending 198bhp and 229lb ft of torque to the rear wheels, enough for a 7.3sec 0-62mph time and 99mph top speed.

> Volkswagen ID.3 R to receive tech from track-only ID.R 

The ID.3’s cab-forward design and tall roofline gives it a distinctive silhouette, one driven by the completely different technical package afforded by its underlying chassis design. Rather than being a derivative of an existing package like that seen in the Peugeot e-208 or Renault Zoe, the ID.3 uses a skateboard-style chassis, with the batteries mounted underneath the passenger cell. As a result, designers were able to push the windscreen forward, unlocking more room in the relatively compact footprint. At 4261mm long, the ID.3 is a mere 3mm longer than a current Golf, but its wheelbase is 145mm longer, leading to its wheel-at-each-corner stance. It’s also 60mm taller, and 10mm narrower than a Golf.

Power is sourced from an electric motor mounted on the rear axle, technically making the ID.3 both rear-engined and rear-wheel drive (sound familiar?) and will be available in time with three different battery capacities. Volkswagen is claiming a WLTP range of 205, 260 and 341 miles depending on capacity – extremely high numbers for an electric vehicle of this size and price. The ID.3 won’t be a Tesla Model S rival in terms of outright performance. Instead the ID.3 will appeal as a commuter car, and it will indeed be the price that’s the defining factor, with an expected figure starting at under £27,000 for basic versions. With a charging capability of up to 100kW, recharging those battery packs shouldn’t take a huge amount of time either, although it does lack the headline recharge figures found in more expensive electric models such as the new Porsche Taycan or Tesla Model S.

The interior has also been through a total reimagination, with a stark, open and simple design dominated by a large touchscreen interface that will eventually find itself in the next Golf and its derivatives. The high-mounted gear selector and floating screens are joined by what Volkswagen calls a new augmented reality head-up display that will be standard across most high-specification models.

Is there room for a performance derivative? As a company famous for turning what would otherwise have been nothing but a small commuter car into the GTI phenomenon, we wouldn’t put it past Volkswagen. But for now the standard ID.3 represents Volkswagen’s immediate future, one that will need to start paying back its enormous investment. Over 30,000 pre-orders have already been taken by Volkswagen, with deliveries beginning in Germany mid-2020 and other markets following soon after. The marque has also confirmed that order books for seven other ID.3 variants will open this autumn.

Recommended

Volkswagen ID.3 2020 review – a thoroughly good car that happens to be electric
Volkswagen ID.3 review - front tracking
Volkswagen

Volkswagen ID.3 2020 review – a thoroughly good car that happens to be electric

Finally there’s a mainstream EV that takes advantage of its elements to be a thoroughly well engineered modern everyday vehicle
19 Dec 2020
Visiting Volkswagen Autostadt museum
Volkswagen

Visiting Volkswagen Autostadt museum

We popped into to the Volkswagen Autostadt Museum, home of one of the best motoring museums in the world
24 Apr 2020
New Volkswagen Touareg R revealed – VW’s performance flagship goes hybrid
Volkswagen

New Volkswagen Touareg R revealed – VW’s performance flagship goes hybrid

Volkswagen has rolled out its new flagship Touareg R with a hybrid powertrain pinched from Porsche
24 Feb 2020
Volkswagen ID R: everything you need to know
Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak
Volkswagen

Volkswagen ID R: everything you need to know

The brand’s first all-electric racer has not two, but three impressive accolades to its name thanks to driver Romain Dumas
3 Feb 2020

Most Popular

BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe vs Audi RS7 Sportback – battle of the alt-supersaloon
Audi RS7 vs M8 Comp GC - cornering
BMW

BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe vs Audi RS7 Sportback – battle of the alt-supersaloon

BMW's grandest of M8 Competition Gran Coupes takes on our impressive fast-fleet Audi RS7
16 Jan 2021
Limited-run Jaguar F-type Reims Edition revealed
Jaguar F-type Reims Edition
Jaguar F-Type

Limited-run Jaguar F-type Reims Edition revealed

Jaguar’s new limited-run F-type Reims Edition references past motorsport triumph
18 Jan 2021
UK speeding fines explained
Speeding fines header
Features

UK speeding fines explained

Speeding fines were increased in spring 2017, with harsher penalties for the worst offenders. Here's everything you need to know...
14 Jan 2021