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Volkswagen's ID.3 to be Australia's cheapest electric car: Golf-sized EV could cost $45,000

Volkswagen has at last pulled the covers off what might prove one of the most important cars unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show: the Golf-sized ID.3 EV.

“Our future is electric,” said Ralf Brandstatter, VW’s Chief Operating Officer, as the vehicle he says will be the first of as many as a million cars per year to be built on the brand’s MEB electric vehicle platform between now and 2025 rolled onto the stage.

The EV platform will underpin several models across the Volkswagen Group, as well being used for future Ford models. 

“Until 2025, 20 cars are planned from Volkswagen, and until 2025, on this platform, we want to produce more than one million cars per year. By doing this, we reduce Co2 emissions by 30 per cent.

“With these 20 models, we will cover all the segments we're in today. With this car, it's the size of a Golf, has the interior space of a Passat, and it accelerates like a GTi - and it does it silently without emissions."

Central to the pitch of the ID.3 (which has already attracted north of 30,000 orders across Europe) is that it is among the most affordable electric vehicles built on a dedicated EV platform, with prices in Europe starting at under 30,000 euros, and Australian pricing expected to kick off at around $45,000.

While the ID.3 isn’t expected to land in Australia before 2022, a mid-$40k staring point would look plenty sharp against the current competition, with Nissan’s Leaf priced at just under $50k, and Hyundai’s Kona Electric priced from $58,500.

"The pricing is a competitive advantage," says VW Australia's Paul Pottinger. "We create an environment where we don't seek, expect or demand any government incentive for the sale of these cars."

The ID.3, internationally at least, will be offered with three battery options, and thus three different range expectations.

The cheapest variant makes use of a 45 kWh battery pack, and delivers a claimed range of around 330kms (WLTP). Those requiring more distance can step up to the 58 kWh version, which boosts range to 420km, while the 77 kWh version delivers a range of 550kms.

Volkswagen’s first pure EV is setup for 100kW fast charging, too, with the brand promising 290kms in accrued range within 30 minutes.

The mid-range, 58 kWh version will be the first to arrive as a launch edition, creatively names the ID.3 1st. That setup will deliver 150kW and 310Nm from its rear-axle-mounted electric motor. It’s enough, VW says, to deliver a flying top speed of 160km/h.

Inside, you’ll find an interior exclusive to ID vehicles, with a clean, uncluttered dash with  a large digital screen mounted in the centre, and another screen that entire replaces the driver's binnacle, and is mounted behind the steering wheel.

The ID.3 is one of three electrified products the brand's Australian arm is making a play for, with the ID Buzz (an electric van with 275kW or power and 600Nm in range) and the I.D. Crozz (an all-electric SUV) both high on the company's wish list, too.

Andrew Chesterton
Contributing Journalist
Andrew Chesterton should probably hate cars. From his hail-damaged Camira that looked like it had spent a hard life parked at the end of Tiger Woods' personal driving range, to the Nissan Pulsar Reebok that shook like it was possessed by a particularly mean-spirited demon every time he dared push past 40km/h, his personal car history isn't exactly littered with gold. But that seemingly endless procession of rust-savaged hate machines taught him something even more important; that cars are more than a collection of nuts, bolts and petrol. They're your ticket to freedom, a way to unlock incredible experiences, rolling invitations to incredible adventures. They have soul. And so, somehow, the car bug still bit. And it bit hard. When "Chesto" started his journalism career with News Ltd's Sunday and Daily Telegraph newspapers, he covered just about everything, from business to real estate, courts to crime, before settling into state political reporting at NSW Parliament House. But the automotive world's siren song soon sounded again, and he begged anyone who would listen for the opportunity to write about cars. Eventually they listened, and his career since has seen him filing car news, reviews and features for TopGear, Wheels, Motor and, of course, CarsGuide, as well as many, many others. More than a decade later, and the car bug is yet to relinquish its toothy grip. And if you ask Chesto, he thinks it never will.
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