Volkswagen has revealed charging and battery details of its upcoming ID 3 electric hatchback, ahead of production getting underway later this year.
The ID 3's lithium-ion cells have been designed to allow for a charging capacity of up to 125kW, which puts it ahead of every other mainstream electric car currently on sale. Only premium EVs including the Audi E-tron and Tesla Model X can charge faster.
Volkswagen guarantees the batteries will retain 'at least 70%' of their usable capacity after eight years or 100,000 miles (160,934 km) of use.
As part of the company's roll-out of its new ID electric vehicles, a new range of domestic charging points has been designed to allow owners to fully charge their cars overnight or during a working day.
The new wall boxes work with charging capacities of up to 11kW (AC), allowing faster charge times than a conventional 230-volt power supply. A fast-charge point would give the ID 3 roughly 162 miles (260 km) of range in half an hour.
The 261-mile (420 km) battery utilised in the ID 3 First will be the middle of three battery sizes offered in the ID 3 range, which Volkswagen believes will be the most popular. The £25,500 (2,230,778) entry-level version will offer a range of 205 miles (329 km), with the largest battery allowing for 342 miles (550km). It is understood the three batteries will be 45, 58 and 77kWh respectively.
The company says it has received pre-orders for more than half of the launch edition versions of its Renault Zoe rival.
Customers in 29 European countries have been able to pay a deposit to pre-book one of the 30,000 examples of the ID 3 First models, which will feature a WLTP-certified range of 261 miles (420 km) and will be priced at less than €40,000 (£34,000/Rs 2,975,034) in Germany. Deliveries are due to begin in April 2020.
In early May, Volkswagen claimed to have received 15,000 pre-orders in a week, with the greatest demand in Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK and Sweden. Each country has received an allocation of ID 3 models, although it is not known how many of those intended for the UK have been pre-ordered.
Initial problems with Volkswagen's IT systems struggling to keep up with heavy traffic from users were shortly rectified.
The Golf-sized ID 3 will be officially launched at this year's Frankfurt motor show, after which those who have pre-booked a First edition will be able to firm up their order. Orders for the general ID 3 production run will also start then.
The first production car to launch using the Volkswagen Group’s new MEB electric architecture, the ID 3 will be offered with three different battery sizes, and Volkswagen says the entry-level version will cost less than €30,000 (£25,500/ Rs 22 lakh) in Germany.
In the markets where it is available, the range-topping Max trim includes a panoramic sunroof and augmented-reality head-up display.
Volkswagen also said the ID 3 First edition will be offered with 2000kWh of free charging at public charging points using the firm's We Charge app, on a European charging network. That includes charge points on the Ionity network, which is expanding into the UK. VW also has a deal with Tesco to install 600 rapid chargers at its supermarkets by 2020, although it is not yet confirmed if access to these would be part of the 2000kWh deal.
The ID 3 is 4100mm long, 1800mm wide and 1530mm high, making it 155mm longer, 9mm wider and 77mm higher than the seventh-generation Golf, although the electric powertrain means that it is set to offer substantially more interior space. Stackmann added: "From the outside, the ID 3 will be as large as a Golf. In the interior, it will be as spacious as a medium-sized car."
ID 3 production run will start at Volkswagen’s Zwickau factory near the end of this year. The firm is aiming to deliver more than 100,000 examples in 2020, with 110,000 on average per year afterwards. That is part of VW's goal to sell more than 10 million electric vehicles in the next 10 years.
Volkswagen says the ID 3's name comes from the firm's internal nomenclature for the compact A-segment, and the new model's opening of the third major chapter in the brand's history, after the Beetle and Golf. The title also "signals the potential for expansion" into bigger and smaller models in the future.
Volkswagen sales boss Jürgen Stackmann said that the start of ID pre-booking ushered in “the third major chapter of strategic importance in the history of our brand, following the Beetle and the Golf”. He added: “With the ID 3, we are making the electric car fit for mass mobility.”
Stackmann said that the ID 3 represented a "major milestone" for Volkswagen, adding: "The world is currently in a process of transformation. Volkswagen is not only part of, but is also shaping, this transformation.
"We are pursuing a focused powertrain strategy. Volkswagen has opted consistently for the battery-electric drive system. This is currently the most efficient technology for reducing CO2 emissions and meeting the ambitious CO2 reduction targets. E-mobility will become our lead technology."
The ID range is understood to be planned to run from one to 10, with the numbers replacing the titles given to previously seen concepts: the ID Crozz SUV, Vizzion saloon, Buzz MPV and van and Roomzz luxury SUV. Autocar has also revealed the firm is working on an entry-level 'people's car'.
Volkswagen says the ID 3 First edition will be priced at under €40,000 (£34,000/ Rs 22 lakh) in Germany, with customers in the UK required to pay a £750 deposit. UK pricing details have yet to be confirmed, and the pre-booking will only be open for the 30,000 special editions, although those who secure a slot can cancel their order with a full refund. The UK is one of the "key" markets for the car, alongside Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and France.
Customers who pre-book an ID 3 will be able to order their cars after it is launched at this year’s Frankfurt motor show in September. Those orders will become binding in April 2020, with customers able to cancel and obtain a full refund until then.
The First edition will be offered in a choice of four colours and three versions, all featuring large wheel rims. There will also be three trim levels - First, First Plus and First Max – although only the Plus trim will be offered in the UK. This will feature "extensive" comfort features including voice control, a navigation system, exterior IQ lighting and a bi-colour exterior and interior design.
Also read: Renault reveals 242-mile range second-gen Zoe EV