The Volkswagen ID.3 isn’t the first electric vehicle on the UK market, but it could be the most significant. It’s a Golf-sized hatchback with room for the family and a range between charges that makes it far more capable than a city runabout. If you’ve been wondering when to make the switch to electric power, this impressive new electric hatchback could be the most convincing proposition yet.
The ID.3 bears a family resemblance to the Golf, but it’s a completely new design and platform that’s engineered from the ground up for electric power. It’s based on the all-new modular electric matrix (MEB) platform with the batteries housed within the floorpan, giving great driving dynamics due to the low centre of gravity. In time, MEB will be the basis for an entire VW electric range, but for now ID.3 stands alone. Thanks to the long wheelbase and electric drivetrain, it’s as compact as a Golf outside but as spacious as a Passat inside, and offers 385 litres of boot space.
The ID.3 was launched at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show and we’ll bring you the acceleration figures when VW releases them. Meanwhile, we do know that there will be three battery packs, giving different potential ranges between charges. The launch model has a 201bhp electric motor and 58kWh battery pack, giving a range of up to 261 miles. Later there will be an entry model with 148bhp and a smaller capacity 45kWh battery, for a range of between 143 and 205 miles, and a flagship model with 201bhp and 77kWh battery for a range of up to 342 miles. The 58kWh and 77kWh models will be able to charge at 100kW, adding around 180 miles of range within 30 minutes.
The interior of the ID.3 is clean, modern and uncluttered, with a large ten-inch central infotainment screen and a smaller pod mounted on the steering column for driver information. All controls – including those on the multifunction steering wheel – are operated using touch-sensitive buttons or by intelligent natural voice control. The ID.3 can connect with your smartphone via VW’s App Connect system. UK 1st Edition cars will feature adaptive cruise control and satellite navigation, a rear-view camera, 19-inch alloy wheels and heated front seats and steering wheel.
The ID.3 features ID. Light, an innovative driver assistance feature that communicates with you visually and makes it easier to navigate through traffic with the optional navigation system. It uses a light and flashing direction indicator to recommend you change lanes. It can also warn you and help you navigate your way out of the situation if you find yourself in the wrong lane. Other features include Lane Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Verdict: like the Beetle and the Golf before it, Volkswagen’s ID.3 democratises EV motoring, making it a practical, affordable and above all enjoyable way to switch to electric power. And because it’s a Volkswagen, you can be sure it’s as well-built and reliable as its petrol and diesel stablemates.