VW opens preorders for the ID.3, its first long-range electric car

Volkswagen began taking pre-orders in Europe for its first long-range electric car, and finally finally shares some details about how much it will cost and what it will be capable of.

Nicknamed ID.3, VW will sell three versions of the all-electric hatchback. The cheapest will start at "less than € 30,000" (approximately $ 33,600) and travel 330 kilometers (approximately 200 miles) on a single charge using a 45kWh battery. The car will also be sold in 58kWh and 77kWh configurations, which will obtain 420 km (261 miles) and 550 km (342 miles), respectively. All models will be capable of a fast charge of 125kW DC. Advance orders require a deposit of € 1,000 (around $ 1,118) and production is scheduled to begin later this year. Deliveries begin in Europe in the middle of 2020.

VW did not announce the exact price for higher-end models, or any other specification (hence the light blue and pink camouflage). That will have to wait until the full disclosure later this year. But he did say he will sell a limited edition "first edition" of the mid-range car for "less than € 40,000" (approximately $ 44,760). The company will manufacture 30,000 of these "ID.3 1" cars and buyers will receive up to 2,000kWh of free cargo during the first year.

ID.3 1st, itself, will come in three versions. The basic version will include the voice control functionality and a navigation system. The "ID.3 1st Plus" edition will include a more elegant interior lighting and a two-tone exterior. The "ID.3 1st Max" will be "full of innovations", says VW, as an augmented reality heads-up screen. It will also have a large panoramic glass roof.

All versions of ID.3 can be updated through software updates, according to Jürgen Stackmann, the head of sales and marketing for Volkswagen's passenger car division. But he said at a news conference on Wednesday that those updates will come through the VW distributor network or by air, and he offered no more clarity on how they will be managed.

Stackmann also said that VW will offer a full warranty for the ID.3 battery for up to eight years, 160,000 km (just under 100,000 miles) or battery depreciation to 70 percent of its original maximum capacity. He added that the car will be equipped with advanced driver assistance technology, but did not go into details about the prices.

ID.3 will be the first car built in the "modular power tool kit" or "MEB" of the Volkswagen Group, a technological platform for electric vehicles that includes the battery and the engine. The Volkswagen Group plans to use the MEB modular platform to drive a wide variety of electric cars for virtually all brands under its roof, from VW to Audi and Porsche. Because the batteries make up the floor of the platform and the technology of the electric motor can be placed right on the axles of the cars, the same type of "transmission tunnel" that is found in most cars is not necessary. internal combustion. As a result, the ID.3 will offer an interior space comparable to that found in a mid-sized car in a general package that is the same size as a VW Golf, Stackmann said.

The MEB platform is destined to be the basis of the Volkswagen Group's goal of manufacturing 22 million electric cars in the next decade. The company believes that manufacturing the technical platform for electric cars on this scale will reduce costs enough to make the price of electric vehicles more in line with that of combustion cars. It is assumed that the MEB platform will also help initiate a "new chapter" for the Volkswagen Group, said Stackmann, one that leaves combustion and diesel engines, including those that the automaker designed to fool emission regulations as part of the scandal of Dieselgate. past.

This potential cost reduction, together with the fact that the platform is modular and can be adapted to vehicles of different sizes, means that the Volkswagen Group could build a whole business around SEM. The company has already flirted with the idea of ​​licensing the technology to other automakers that want to start manufacturing electric cars, and Stackmann said on Wednesday that the German automaker has started talks with some new electric vehicle companies, although it did not. name anyone specifically.

Some EV startups are trying to beat the Volkswagen Group with this idea. A new company, Rivian, has already registered Ford and Amazon as investors and customers of the modular EV platform that it designed to power the company's own electric van and SUV. Another, Lucid Motors, backed by Saudi Arabia, has also raised the idea of ​​licensing its own technology to other automakers. In fact, Lucid Motors and the Volkswagen Group had discussions about a possible investment by the German automaker at a given moment shortly after the Dieselgate scandal broke out, according to a former employee familiar with the talks. Even the new company with problems, Faraday Future, designed its first car, the FF91 SUV, completely delayed, around a modular electrical platform.

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