Beetle. Golf. ID.3. Three cars in their respective eras and classes represent Volkswagen’s take on modern individual mobility. That the new ID.3 is named alongside two such undisputed icons of the motoring world underscores the importance of the brand’s first new car designed from the wheels up to run purely on electricity.
The arrival in the UK of the ID.3 1st Edition in September 2020 delivers on a bold pledge made by the brand almost exactly four years before, at the Paris Motor Show of 2016, when the daring I.D. concept was first unveiled to the world and Volkswagen promised to have cars based closely upon it in the hands of customers around Europe within four years.
Now, that audacious ambition is a reality and the ID.3 is a feature of the UK driving landscape. The scale of the engineering achievement cannot be underestimated. ID.3 sits on a wholly new architecture – the modular electric drive matrix (MEB) – which will underpin a new generation of tens of millions of Volkswagen Group electric vehicles worldwide.
The logic driving the arrival of ID.3 is clear. As one of the world’s largest carmakers, the Volkswagen Group has a global responsibility – one it plans to embrace by committing to making its vehicles and their production carbon-neutral by 2050. Indeed, in 2018 the Volkswagen Group committed itself to the goals of the Paris Agreement – the 200-nation accord that aims to limit global warming to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
To make those commitments reality Volkswagen needs a class-leading offering: the ID.3. Unveiled in production form in September 2019 at the IAA in Frankfurt, this family-sized car with cutting edge technology, features and functions is the vanguard for an entire family of ID. models that will help Volkswagen deliver on its carbon-cutting promises. In the next four years, the Group will invest around 33 billion euros in electric mobility, 11 billion euros of which will be allocated to its largest brand. Volkswagen Group plans to launch up to 75 fully electric models by 2029 and to sell around 26 million electric vehicles in this period. ID.3 is leading this unprecedented product offensive.
But the new car is not just environmentally responsible to drive: Volkswagen is building the ID.3 with a climate-neutral balance. The Zwickau factory in central Germany, the largest and most efficient electric car factory in Europe, uses 100% ‘green’ electricity. The site includes a highly efficient combined heat and power plant. Production of the battery cells, which is externally sourced by Volkswagen, is unavoidably energy-intensive. That is why Volkswagen has obliged its cell supplier to use exclusively green electricity for manufacturing.
The ID.3 is designed to be simple to operate and introduces several new features designed to aid the driver. Almost all functions are operable by touch controls or via the “Hello ID.” intelligent voice control. With voice control it is possible to use natural language to control infotainment and climate functions.
Driving the ID.3 1ST Edition is designed to be easy. As the car is approached with the key, it will automatically unlock. Then as soon as the driver sits behind the wheel the vehicle activates both the infotainment and air conditioning systems. The moment the brake pedal is pressed, the ignition is switched on.
From that point the driving mode selector needs only twisting around to ‘D’ and the car is ready to go. When the destination is reached, the driver simply presses the ‘P’ button to engage the parking brake, then they are able to step out of the vehicle. As this happens, the ID.3 will detect the movement and switch off the ignition. The vehicle can be locked with the key, or by touching the exterior door handle.
Below are some of the key technical features that are standard on the ID.3 1ST Edition:
- A Volkswagen first and a feature that has not yet been available in any car, this is a narrow light strip under the windscreen that intuitively assists the driver. For example, after the driver gets into the vehicle, it signals that the car is ready to drive. When the driver has to make a turn according to the navigation route, the light moves to the left or right end of the strip.
- Should the driver need to brake in a critical situation, ID. Light issues a warning in intense red. During a charging operation, a green bar builds up from left to right showing the battery charge level which is also visible from outside the vehicle.
- Natural Voice Control – The “Hello ID.” natural voice control is also standard in the ID.3. Here, the car follows the instructions spoken by the driver and passengers and is capable of understanding many commands from everyday language use. The short sentence “Hello ID., my hands are cold” is sufficient to turn on the heated steering wheel, while the statement “Hello ID., take me home” instructs the navigation system to plan a route for the pre-programmed ‘Home’ location. ID.Light indicates when the car is listening or processing a command.
- IQ.Light LED Matrix headlights:
- These active headlights are fitted as standard on the 1ST Edition. They provide an intelligently controlled main beam first seen on the Touareg. A camera on the windscreen analyses road users ahead as well as oncoming traffic. On the basis of this data, the main beam automatically switches on at speeds over 40 mph and remains active without dazzling oncoming traffic. This noticeably improves the illumination of the road surface and the side of the road at dawn and at night.
- The electrically swivelling light modules look like human eyes, while honeycomb-type openings in the housings and surrounding fibre optic cables radiate the daytime running light. When the intelligently controlled main beam is activated, the light strip across the front of the ID.3 is also illuminated. The light modules communicate with the driver as they approach the vehicle – as the key is detected they swivel upwards and switch on to greet the driver.
The new ID.3 1ST Edition comes with a single five-door hatchback body style and fixed specification. Only interior and exterior colour can be specified by the customer, although a wide range of accessories are available too.
The ID.3 can be distinguished by unique 1ST badging on the front wings, steering wheel and dashboard, and it additionally features the distinctive ‘Play & Pause’ design pedals. 1ST Edition buyers also receive 2,000 kWh of free charging up to £500 with We Charge.
An impressive array of equipment is standard on the 1ST Edition, which includes: ID. Light, Natural Voice Control; Adaptive Cruise Control; Lane Assist; Discover Pro navigation with 10-inch screen; IQ. Light matrix LED headlights; keyless entry and start; ambient lighting with 30 colours; wireless smartphone charging; heated front seats and steering wheel; parking sensors; rear view camera; and 19-inch ‘Andoya’ wheels.
Battery, motor and running gear
The ID.3 1ST Edition is based on the Pro Performance variant. This variant has a 58 kWh (net capacity) battery, which supports a range of up to 260 miles with a full charge (WLTP, combined electric range). The electric drive motor delivers an output of 150 kW (204 PS) and 310 Nm of torque. This will carry the ID.3 1ST Edition from rest to 62 mph in 7.3 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 99 mph.
The 1ST Edition is capable of rapid charging, with a 100 kW DC charger being able to add up to 180 miles of range in 30 minutes. AC charging is possible up to 11 kW on 3-phase and 7.2 kW on 1-phase.
Sitting as it does on the all-new MEB platform, the ID.3 sports a low centre of gravity that naturally helps to deliver the car’s dynamic handling. The rear-wheel drive set-up and packaging of the ID.3 create ideal prerequisites for what some might see as surprisingly sporty driving characteristics. The vehicle’s high-voltage battery is located between the axles at the lowest point of the car, and regardless of trim variant the ID.3’s weight distribution front to rear is very close to the ideal 50:50 split.
There’s a McPherson front axle and a complex five-link design at the rear. In spite of the large wheels, which of course require corresponding space in the wheel housings, the ID.3 has a nimble, city-friendly turning circle of just 10.2 metres.
|ID.3 1ST Edition|
|Battery capacity||58 kWh
|Max power||150 kW, 204 PS
|Max torque||310 Nm
|Max speed||99 mph|
|Acceleration, (0-62 mph)||7.3 sec
|Energy consumption (combined)
||3.96 mi/kWh (WLTP)|
||260 miles (WLTP)|
|Width (exc. door mirrors)
|Boot volume||385 litres|
Figures are correct at the time of publication. For the most up-to-date figures, especially WLTP data, please check the model configurator on the customer website: www.volkswagen.co.uk/new
The ID.3 measures 4,261 mm long, 1,809 mm wide and 1,552 mm tall. The wheelbase stands at 2,765 mm. Luggage space in the five-door ID.3 is generous, measuring up to 385 litres with all five seats in place. When the asymmetrically split rear seat backrest is folded down, the load capacity increases to a maximum of 1,267 litres. For comparison the Golf 8 measures 4,284 mm long, 1,789 mm wide and 1,491 mm high.