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Volkswagen’s ID.3 debuts for the European market

Volkswagen’s ID.3 electric vehicle, the first model from the MEB product line for electric vehicles, is making its debut at IAA 2019 in Frankfurt. The ID.3 will not go on sale in North America.


The ID.3 1ST special edition enables electric ranges of up to 420 kilometers (261 miles) (WLTP) with initially three equipment variants. All ID.3 1ST models feature the most popular battery variant that provides a usable energy content of 58 kWh.


The series production version will later also offer a smaller battery option with an energy content of 45 kWh and a range of up to 330 kilometers (205 miles) as well as a larger battery with an energy content of 77 kWh and a maximum range of 550 kilometers (342 miles).

With its fast charging capability, at a charging output of 100 kW it is possible to recharge the ID.3 1ST with enough energy within 30 minutes to cover a range of around 290 kilometers (180 miles) (WLTP)—a significantly longer range than had previously been possible in the compact vehicle segment.

Volkswagen will offer a guarantee of eight years or 160,000 kilometers on ID.3 batteries, thus safeguarding longevity.

The ID.3’s spatial arrangement fully benefits from design advantages provided by electrically driven vehicles. With external dimensions comparable to the Golf, the ID.3 provides a vehicle interior that is larger than that in any other vehicle in its category. As the basic price for the series production model will be under €30,000 in Germany, the vehicle’s price will be comparable to that of typical compact vehicles following the deduction of the anticipated government subsidies—an electric car for the masses.


Of note, Volkswagen points out, is the price-range ratio that is possible solely as a result of Volkswagen’s consistent strategic alignment towards electric vehicles and the associated scaling effects. The ID.3 will be delivered in Germany from mid-2020.

First electric vehicle on the basis of the new MEB platform. The ID.3 is the first Volkswagen based on the newly developed, modular electric drive matrix – abbreviated to MEB. All future ID. models will also be exclusively available with fully electric drive. This drive has been optimized around the battery to achieve maximum ranges while keeping costs to a minimum.

Due to the design approach there are also numerous benefits in terms of the package, i.e. the arrangement of drive components and auxiliary units as well as the space arrangements in the vehicle interior.


The ID.3’s electric drive primarily consists of the permanent-magnet synchronous motor including power electronics and gearbox, which have been integrated into the rear axle. A high-voltage flat battery that has been efficiently arranged in the underbody to save space, as well as auxiliary units, such as air conditioning compressor or steering rack, that have been integrated into the vehicle front end.

The power electronics control the high-voltage energy flow between motor and battery and in this process, the system converts the direct current (DC) stored in the battery to alternating current (AC) for the drive motor. The 12 V DC electrical system is simultaneously supplied with low voltage by a DC/DC converter. Power is transmitted from the motor to the rear axle using a 1-speed gearbox. Motor, power electronics and gearbox form a compact unit.

The position of the battery in the underbody has a positive effect on the neutral handling characteristics, as it causes the ID.3’s center of gravity to be very low, like in racing cars.

The ID.3 is also characterized by ideal weight distribution between front axle and rear axle. In combination with the standard rear-axle drive this results in outstanding performance.

Sustainability. The ID.3 is Volkswagen’s first vehicle produced with a carbon-neutral balance along the entire supply chain. Sustainability is already brought to life with battery production: consequently, cell production facilities for batteries in the ID.3 exclusively use naturally produced energy, as do component production, body manufacture, the paint shop and assembly facilities of the ID.3 at the Zwickau plant.

The Saxon Volkswagen plant is the pilot factory for the ID.3. It has been externally provided with renewable energy generated by hydroelectric power stations since 2017. However, should CO2 emissions be unavoidable along the supply chain, these will be compensated by investments in climate protection projects. In this way, dealerships will be able to handover the ID.3 to customers as a product with a CO2-neutral balance.

In an effort to also retain a CO2-neutral balance during the usage period, ID.3 drivers can then make use of Volkswagen subsidiary Elli’s range—from naturally produced energy agreements for homes to charging points at all 4,000 European Volkswagen dealerships and service centers. In addition, the joint venture Ionity, in which Volkswagen owns a stake, aims to install 400 ultra-fast charging stations along main European routes by 2020 that use 100 percent renewable energy—providing it is available in the respective country. Volkswagen is also working on a secondary usage concept for high-voltage batteries as part of stationary operation.

Furthermore the company is developing closed loop recycling concepts to be able to guarantee carbon-neutral balance characteristics at the end of the vehicle’s service life.

Intuitive operation. The ID.3 interacts with the driver and the environment. Drivers will intuitively and immediately know what is what within the cockpit. Apart from the display in the cockpit, a newly developed, centrally positioned, ten-inch touch display provides drivers with all important information. ID.

Light supports drivers with an LED strip during navigation and can, for instance, prompt them to brake in the event of any dangers. An optional augmented reality (AR) head-up display also projects all relevant information directly onto the windscreen—this information is visually positioned within a range of three to ten meters ahead of the vehicle.

All controls—including those on the electrically adjustable multifunction steering wheel—are operated using touch functions featuring touch-sensitive buttons. Only the electric windows and hazard warning lights are still operated using tactile switches.

This is supplemented by intelligent natural voice control. Drivers or front passengers can speak to the ID.3, simply by saying “hello ID.”. Visually, ID. Light signals to whom the ID.3 is currently responding. With App-Connect, you can also connect the ID.3 to a smartphone within seconds.

Fully fledged assistance. Assistance functions are supported by a multifunction camera on the windscreen that also identifies road signs. Comfort and safety functions in the ID.3 include Front Assist with City Emergency Braking System and Pedestrian Monitoring; multicollision brake and Lane Assist lane keeping system; Side Assist lane change system; Park Assist including rear view camera system as well as a keyless access system (Kessy Advanced) featuring illuminated door handles.

With standard Park Distance Control featuring maneuver braking, the system largely prevents parking mishaps: the function can prevent impending collisions or reduce the severity of collisions by triggering an emergency braking maneuver at the latest possible point. The system brakes the vehicle to standstill—when reversing within a range of between 1.5 km/h and 10 km/h and when driving forwards at speeds of between 2.5 km/h to 10 km/h.

Three battery sizes at series production launch. At series production launch the ID.3 will be available with three battery sizes. The ID.3 1ST special edition model is based on the mid-range battery variant; it will be complemented by a basic variant at a later point.

Its battery delivers a usable energy content of 45 kWh and enables an electrically powered range of up to 330 kilometers as per WLTP. The battery can be recharged with a maximum charging output of 7.2 kW (AC) and 50 kW (DC). 100 kW DC charging is optionally also available. The vehicle’s basic model also reaches a top speed of 160 km/h.

The largest battery variant’s actually usable energy content is 77 kWh and the electrically powered range is up to 550 kilometers as per WLTP. The battery can be charged at an AC power source with a maximum charging output of 11 kW and with up to 125 kW at a DC power source.



An interesting lower cost extended range EV by a major manufacturer. Will be ideal for users without home charging facilities.


Finally, VW moves; and, the specs on the car show hey have done their homework on what people want in a reason to buy a hybrid now that the ID.3 is available.



Reason 1: Around 50% of cars in Europe have nowhere they could reasonably be plugged into at home

Reason 2: This costs a heck of a lot more than an ICE, rather disguised by subsidies.

Reason 3: You might not fancy either spending thousands for a new battery pack when the old one gets tired, or junking your car after 10 years or so.


Twenty times more hybrids for the same batteries saves more fuel.


“Reason 1: Around 50% of cars in Europe have nowhere they could reasonably be plugged into at home”

Around 100% of ICEVs in Europe have nowhere to reasonably refuel at home. It’s no big deal though. They can refuel elsewhere. Same for your estimated 50%. With a range that equates to recharging typically once every two weeks if they can’t recharge at work or elsewhere. 15 minutes a a fast charger gets you an average weeks worth of driving.

“Reason 2: This costs a heck of a lot more than an ICE, rather disguised by subsidies.”

I think you meant initial cost. At an equivalent of $6 per gallon it isn’t difficult to save a thousand dollars per year on fuel. More if you factor in maintenance. Over the average life span of the car we would expect the ID3 to actually Cost less.

“Reason 3: You might not fancy either spending thousands for a new battery pack when the old one gets tired, or junking your car after 10 years or so.”

You might not fancy spending thousands on a new motor for an ICEV when the old one gets tired either. People deal with it. The good news is battery prices are dropping rapidly while batteries are getting improving VAG expects 3 million vehicles per year based on the MEB platform. With that volume in 10 years you should be able to upgrade the battery pack to contemporary-tech
At a fraction of the price or sell your car.

Thomas Pedersen

About battery replacement:

1) The battery will probably last at least 300 k km. I say that because Tesla offers lifetime guarantee, although I am aware that Tesla partners with Panasonic and VW gets their ID.3 batteries from LG Chem (currently).

2) Battery packs for the MEB platform will have to conform to just a few form factors for millions of cars, creating a wealth of suppliers including for the aftermarket. This ought to drive the cost down. So when we get 250-300 Wh/kg batteries in 8 years (guess), your car is not just a useless lump of expensive metals with an unsaleable battery range.

PS: Legislation should be put in place to keep car makers from tying customers to their batteries only. If you have purchased a replacement battery legally, it should be replaceable by an appropriate agent (your regular mechanic...), who also handles the old battery responsibly.


Near future longer lasting, lower cost, higher performance batteries and/or combo batteries/super-caps will provide up to 500,000+ Km low cost cleaner driving. Replacing those new batteries with more up-to-date lower cost units after 12-15 years should be easier and cheaper than replacing an ICE + associated sub-units?


SJC absorbed the lesson about battery production capacity vs. savings.

You're learning, son.

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