2020 Volkswagen ID.3 electric car: price, specs and release date

Volkswagen Golf-sized electric car offers a range of up to 341 miles and will eventually cost around £25,000...

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What Car? team
08 May 2019

Volkswagen ID.3 side

On sale: Summer 2020 | Price from: £35,000 (est)

The ID.3 electric car is starting something of a revolution for Volkswagen. It's the first in a series of new fully electric models, which will eventually include a luxurious saloon, multiple SUVs and even a Camper-inspired people carrier. First up, though, is the big-selling five-door family hatchback, which will rival both the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf.

First shown in concept form at the Paris motor show in 2016, the ID.3 is about the same size as the Golf, but the absence of an engine should mean it has more space than that car inside. The existing electric e-Golf won't be renewed when it reaches the end of its life to make way for the ID.3.

Volkswagen ID.3 rear

Volkswagen ID.3 range

Three battery options will eventually be available for the ID.3, offering ranges of between 205-341 miles on the latest WLTP tests. If that 341-mile range is replicable in real-world conditions, the ID will have one of the longest ranges of any electric car on sale. Early buyers will only have access to the medium-sized battery, though, with a range of 260 miles – that's substantially more than both the Zoe and the Leaf.

For comparison, our current Car of the Year, the Kia e-Niro, has a WLTP-certified range of 282 miles, but recorded 253 miles on our Real Range tests. The ID.3 in production form is expected to be powered by a single electric motor with around 168bhp.

Volkswagen is offering a warranty for its battery of up to eight years, with a guaranteed charge capacity of 70%.

Volkswagen ID.3 side

Volkswagen ID.3 equipment

Pre-orders have now opened for the ID.3 in '1st' form, which Volkswagen describes as coming with 'high-quality, high-performance equipment'. The 1st models, which are limited to 30,000 units, come with equipment including voice control, sat-nav and two-tone paintwork. Although three trim levels will be offered elsewhere, buyers in the UK will only be able to buy the ID.3 in mid-range ID Plus form, once the 1st cars have all been sold.

Buyers also have the option of getting 2000 kWh-worth of free charging for their ID.3 for their first year of ownership, if they charge at a charging point connected to Volkswagen's We Charge app. VW is aiming to have at least six charging points located every 75 miles along Europe's motorway networks. Volkswagen also announced last year that it would be installing 2400 charging points at 600 Tesco supermarket locations across the UK.

We've yet to see inside the ID, but back in 2016 Volkswagen confirmed that the car will be capable of high-level autonomy – that is to say that it will be able to control its own steering, acceleration and braking in certain situations, such as on the motorway. More autonomous features will arrive later via wireless updates.

The ID.3 will be capable of 'winking' at its owner as they approach the car with its LED lights – a gimmick first showcased on the original concept car.

Volkswagen ID front

Volkswagen ID.3 price

The only ID.3 you can pre-order right now is the top-end 1st model, which will cost from around £35,000 in the UK – before the government's £3500 plug-in car grant is taken into account. To pre-order an ID.3, buyers will have to place a £750 deposit.

Eventually, likely around 2021 when more versions of the ID with different driving ranges have gone on sale, the car's entry-level price will drop to around £25,000.

The first ID.3 cars will be made towards the end of this year, with deliveries to customers due to start in the summer of 2020. The full production-ready car will be revealed at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Volkswagen ID.3 front

Volkswagen ID family on the way

You might wonder why Volkswagen has chosen to call its first ID-badged car the ID.3 – well, it has to do with what comes after that car, because the ID.3 is Genesis for a whole family of models. Volkswagen has already shown how the technology which underpins the ID – the so-called MEB architecture – can be applied to other cars. Many of Volkswagen's recent concept cars, such as the ID Buzz MPV, the ID Crozz and ID Roomzz SUVs and the ID Vizzion luxury saloon have already been confirmed for production.

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The best (and worst) electric cars

If Volkswagen's newest electric car has got you thinking about going green, then you'll want to know which electric cars will leave you feeling fully charged, and which aren't worth your time to charge. Fortunately, we've done the hard work for you, and below and over the next few pages you'll find our picks for the best electric cars on sale today – plus the ones to avoid.

And, remember, before you start shopping for your new car, take a look at What Car? New Car Buying to see how much we could save you on your next car.

10. Hyundai Ioniq

Hyundai Ioniq Electric

The Ioniq is really three cars in one – it's available as a conventional hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and as a fully electric car. The EV version we're including here has a range of 174 miles, and enough torque to make acceleration feel brisk around town. The interior is nice, too, and our recommended Premium models get sat-nav and heated front seats as standard.

Read our full Hyundai Ioniq review or see our latest Ioniq deals

9. BMW i3

BMW i3

Even though it’s getting a bit old now, it still looks incredibly futuristic outside plus its smart interior makes the i3 one of the most appealing electric cars on sale today. Its groundbreaking use of super-light carbonfibre and aluminium offset the weight of the heavy battery pack that’s mounted beneath its floor, and a recent facelift means it’s better to drive than ever. BMW reckons that it’ll manage around 160 miles on a full charge in real-world conditions, but the i3 covered 121 miles on our Real Range test.

Read our full BMW i3 review or see our latest i3 deals

8. Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream combination, offering the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car. In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even entry-level versions aren't short on pace, but parts of its interior do look a little low-rent.

Read our full Tesla Model X review or see our latest Model X deals

Next: more of our favourite electric vehicles >

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