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'.
The 261-mile 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 entry-level version will offer a range of 205 miles, with the largest battery allowing for 342 miles. It is understood the three batteries will be 45, 58 and 77kWh respectively.
The ID 3 will come with built-in fast-charging technology, allowing for a maximum speed of 100-125kW DC charging. The firm says a 30-minute charge at 100kW should provide 162 miles of range.
Volkswagen says the ID 3 First edition will be priced at under €40,000 (£34,000) 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.
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."