Frankfurt Motor Show: Volkswagen I.D 3 Makes Its Global Debut

2020 Audi RS6 Avant

The twin steps - both heavy with symbolism - reflect the high stakes involved in Volkswagen's ambitions of becoming the world's electric-car leader just four years after the diesel-cheating scandal plunged it into the worst crisis in its history.

It's by no means a secret.

In brief: At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Volkswagen showed off the first ever production version of its ID. -based concept cars: The ID.3 hatchback.

Now, however, potential buyers will get their first look at the production version and learn a lot more about what it has to offer, starting with the "scalable" electric drive system that, the automaker claims, will offer as much as 550 kilometers, or almost miles, of range, depending upon which of the optional battery packs a customer chooses.

"With the ID.3, Volkswagen is heading towards the future", said VW head of design Klaus Bischoffin a statement.

Although Diess said in October that Volkswagen would "come in 2020 with vehicles that can do anything like Tesla and are cheaper by half", the first edition ID.3 is clearly not this vehicle, with the Model 3 SR+ in Germany now starting at €43,390 (just onder $A70,000 converted) before on-road costs.

Ford, which got a late start in developing electric vehicles, a year ago sold 974,856 passenger vehicles overall in Europe. All told, it is investing about 11 billion euros, or $12.1 billion in the effort, part of its "goTOzero" strategy.

Unveiled ahead of this week's Frankfurt motor show, the ID.3 will be priced from less than €30,000 in Europe, or a bit more than $48,000. The German automaker notes that LED lighting is the new chrome, so hope you like all the LEDs. The Volkswagen ID.3 is built on the Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) which will be used for all upcoming electric cars from Volkswagen's ID brand. This positioning has a positive effect on driving dynamics, as it moves the centre of gravity in the ID.3 significantly lower.

The auto was launched at this week's Frankfurt Motor Show, where the marquee also lifted the covers on another of their upcoming electric models. The fact that there have been so many initial hand-raisers suggests VW may be onto something.

Maximum charging rate is 100kW, meaning that 290km range can be added to the battery within 30 minutes.

Three drivetrain variants (dependent on the battery size) will be offered at the outset; the basic variant features a 45 kWh battery pack which enables a driving range of up to 330 km (as per WLTP), while two larger batteries, a 58 kWh and a 77 kWh unit, offer a driving range of 420 km and 550 km respectively.

The first edition - the ID.3 1st - has a 58kWh battery which is driven by an electric motor at the rear axle. The company has not yet revealed specific torque or horsepower numbers, nor performance figures. There will be 13 cubic feet of storage space behind the second-row seats.

The top-of-the-range version, the ID.3 1 Max, also includes an augmented reality (AR) head-up display, the Beats sound system, a large panorama sliding/tilting glass roof as well as 20-inch light-alloy wheels.

That includes the centrally located 10-inch touchscreen that handled a broad range of vehicle functions. Despite being a compact vehicle, the ID 3's roof features the largest glass panorama sliding and tilting roof in the automaker's lineup.

Rest of the cabin is all touch operated apart from the window switches and the hazard lights that use physical buttons. "This is supplemented by intelligent natural voice control. Visually, ID. Light signals to whom the ID.3 is now responding".

For the first generation of buyers, Volkswagen is offering free charging for a year at WeCharge network stations throughout Europe. In Norway, for example, they now account for more than half of the market's new vehicle sales. At that meeting, VW looked beyond Dieselgate, to the declining profitability of several models, the upcoming European Union 95g/km emission targets and the firm's struggle in key regions such as the US.

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