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Volkswagen, ID.3 takes VW into EV era

Volkswagen finally enters the era of electric cars on a mass-production scale. Although there was the e-Golf since 5 years ago, it was adapted from the MQB platform and not too suitable for producing in mass amount. Instead, the ID.3 is built on a dedicated EV platform called MEB (Modular Electric Matrix). It has a skateboard floorpan housing all the batteries, and the electric motor is mounted at the rear axle. That is why the ID.3 is 60mm taller than the current Golf. It is almost the same length, just marginally wider, but the lack of engine and exhaust keeps its front and rear overhangs to the minimum. Therefore, it sports a very long wheelbase of 2765mm, 130mm longer than the Golf. In addition to a flat floor, it should excel in interior space.

The ID.3 is styled more radical than a conventional Volkswagen, although it is not quite as radical as Tesla or others. It has a steeply raked windscreen and a proportion approaching one-box. It might be taller than Golf, but it looks sleeker, which is evident from its Cd of 0.267. As the base of windscreen is pushed forward, it necessitates a pair of front quarter windows, like many MPVs. The C-pillars are thick, like Golf, but they are decorated with mesh graphics. The LED headlights are pretty slim, ditto the taillights. To hide its excessive height, it is equipped with large wheels, ranging from 18 to 20-inch.

The rear-mounted motor generates 204hp and 229 lbft of torque. There are 3 battery sizes for selection: 45kWh, 58kWh or 77kWh. They offer a driving range of up to 330, 420 or 550km respectively on WLTP cycles. The launch edition is equipped with the 58kWh battery, and it weighs as much as 1719kg DIN, slightly more than a Nissan Leaf with 62kWh battery. Volkswagen has not released full performance figures yet, but its top speed is capped at 100mph.

The interior design emphasizes on simplicity and ease of use. Nearly all controls are put to the center touch screen, including air-con, annoyingly. From this picture, the interior seems to lack the build quality that marks Golf out of its competitors. Perhaps that is an inevitable result of offsetting the high costs of battery. The ID.3 is slightly more expensive than the Golf, but taking government grant into account it might be more or less the same. Production will take place at the Zwickau plant in Germany, which has a capacity of 330,000 MEB cars a year.