The launch of the VW ID.3 is an important moment in EV development. VW is very serious about making its new electric range a success, underlined by an investment of around 30 billion Euro up to 2023. The first taste of that new line up is the ID.3 which aims to deliver a genuine Golf rival so has VW delivered?
It is great that VW has chosen to start its electric journey with a mainstream offering. It is much easier to start with expensive executive models and try to work your way down, but it is credit to VW that its first attempt is aimed at the core of the market.
The ID.3 sits on a brand new ‘skateboard’ platform known as ‘MEB’. It is a great starting point as electric cars built on dedicated electric platforms tend to deliver, and the ID.3 is no different. Initially that platform enables a 58 kWh or 77 kWh battery pack depending on how much cash you want to splash. Talking of cash, the ID.3 starts about half way up the Golf range, but there will be cheaper models available in due course.
VW has got a lot right with the ID.3. Firstly we know that styling is subjective, but we think that it strikes a very good balance between reassuringly normal and futuristic. The interior is also modern but sensible retaining an instrument binnacle in front of the driver (where is should be) and a dashboard that you can find your way around.
It also drives well helped by its rear wheel drive chassis, has unusually compliant suspension, is fast enough, big enough, and very refined. In short it is easily a match for the Golf and even in 58 kWh form has an official range of 263 miles, and comes as standard with the ability to charge at 100 kW from CCS Ultra Rapid chargers and can draw 11 kW from AC chargepoints.
However there are quibbles and for some they will be deal breakers. They all center around infotainment and software issues. A quick internet search will tell you that VW was plagued with software issues during development and certainly it feels like these elements are half baked. There are too many sub menus to wade through and not enough short cut buttons for every day functions like turning off driving assistance systems. The issues are compounded by having to interact with a touchscreen and slow reactions from the system.
If you can put up with the clunky systems, there is a lot to like. The rest of the ID.3 feels like a thoroughly developed car that provides a genuine alternative to the Golf. In fact we think the ID.3 is already a better car, and if VW can get on top of the remaining gripes it will be a compelling proposition.
Estimated real world range: 220 – 263 miles
Official range: 263 miles
Official electricity consumption: 155 – 158 Wh/km
Battery pack: 58 kWh (gross) lithium ion; 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty
Recharge time: 7 kW charge approx 9 hours 30 minutes; 11 kW charge approx 6 hours 15 minutes; Rapid CCS 50 kW approx 60 mins (5 – 80%); Ultra Rapid CCS 100 kW 35 minutes (5 – 80%)
Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over-estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.