Volkswagen launches revised ID.3 (Update)

Volkswagen has now officially unveiled the revised ID.3, in which the quality of the interior, in particular, is to be significantly improved. The powertrains remain unchanged (for the time being).

Already in December, VW changed the configurator of its compact electric car and added a note that the delivery deadline had already been extended into the fourth quarter of 2023. “According to our current plans, we will already be producing the ID.3 in its enhanced version at that time. As a result, we will no longer be able to deliver the vehicle shown in the configurator or contract on the day of your order, but the ID.3 model that has already been further developed.”

At a preview meeting, VW showed the changes. Even if the ones to the body are minimal, the new design is somewhat different. The fresher impression is due to a number of changed details. The new ID.3 is one of ten electric models that VW will launch by 2026.

“With the second generation of the ID.3, we are continuing the success story of our ID. family. The design has matured, and the materials in the interior have been significantly upgraded. The new ID.3 demonstrates our clear commitment to quality, design, and operability, and we have systematically taken on board the wishes of our customers,” says Imelda Labbé, board member for Sales, Marketing, and After Sales at Volkswagen.

Somewhat sharpened design, improved aerodynamics

The front bumper has been redesigned. The original ‘friendly smile’ face has been reinterpreted and supplemented on the sides of the bumper by vertical air intakes for an air curtain, which is intended to improve the airflow around the front wheels.

The front hood is now completely in body color, and the black element at the transition to the windscreen has disappeared. The proportion of painted elements at the front has increased significantly.

At the rear, the changes are less extensive. The rear lights are now totally illuminated. In the first model, the rear lights extend into the trunk lid, but they remained dark as VW dispensed with the additional wiring, only installing reflectors there. This ‘austerity’ has now changed.

More qualitative interior

The change in strategy in terms of austerity is most noticeable in the interior. Here, the criticism of the large and rigid plastic panels was particularly loud. The feedback from customers was clear. Now, something has really changed because even the more basic equipment has been significantly upgraded.

The relatively contourless basic seat is no longer offered, the simplest version of the center console has been dropped, and large parts of the hard plastic trim as well.  Only in the lower area, a harder plastic is still installed, mainly for robustness. The more visible elements on the doors and in the dashboard are now made of a foamed material, at least at the front.

Sustainability is also to be increased: the ID.3 is now completely animal-free, and even the cover of the steering wheel is no longer made of leather but a replica. At the same time, the proportion of recycled materials has increased. The microfibre material ‘Artvelours Eco’, which comprises 71 percent recycled material, is used for the door trims and seat covers.

The steering wheel cover in the ID.3 is new, but the steering wheel itself is not. The return of the control buttons on the steering wheels, announced by VW brand boss Thomas Schäfer, has not yet been implemented in the ID.3 update because it wasn’t possible yet.

In the development of the original MEB platform, it was not planned to install steering wheels with buttons, so the electronic architecture was not designed for this. This means that deeper interventions are necessary than simply fitting a different steering wheel at the factory. It will come, but later.

The twelve-inch display familiar from the ID.4 has also been made standard in the ID.3. The basic operating logic remains the same. Still, VW says that various customer wishes have been implemented in the menu structure. Among other things, the charging menu is now located on the first level of the large touch display and is structured in a more informative and tidy manner.

Functions on demand

No changes were made to the battery sizes of 58 and 77 kWh net energy content. The ID.3 with 58 kWh can travel up to 426 kilometers in the WLTP cycle, and the ID.3 with 77 kWh is stated to travel up to 546 kilometers. There is also no change in the drive unit (yet); it is the familiar permanent excited synchronous machine (PSM) on the rear axle with 150 kW output. Only with the upcoming ID.3 GTX will there be an innovation in the drives.

VW announces that a smaller battery will follow. There are no details yet about this. So it is unclear whether it will be a comeback of the 45 kWh battery that was offered for a short time (which is very likely) or a new battery option.

In addition, VW has decided to introduce some ‘functions on demand’ in the ID.3. In other words, the necessary hardware is installed at the factory but not activated. This can either happen at the time of purchase or later on, either as a subscription or permanently in a one-off payment. This is why, for example, a camera is always installed in the redesigned front bumper of the revised ID.3, even if no assistance systems are booked that would use the camera.

Functions that can be booked afterward include, for example, dual-zone automatic climate control or the navigation system. VW wants to earn money with this, of course, but also increase flexibility for the customer. If the car is primarily used as a commuter vehicle by one person, for example, neither the dual-zone air conditioning nor the navigation system is primordial. Navigation via smartphone apps as an alternative is possible thanks to ‘App Connect’.

If you want these extras for your holiday trip, you can book them for a month, for example. Or if the car is sold and will be used as a family car instead of a commuter vehicle, the buyer can still book the extras. However, the exact prices for the ‘Functions on Demand’ have not yet been fixed. But they will certainly have a strong influence on whether the offer is actually used.

Cheaper version coming?

Talking prices, it isn’t clear yet what the entire car will cost in the future. In Germany, the basic ID.3 Life version with the 58 kWh battery starts at €43 995, while the pre-facelift model was available with this battery from €38 000 onward. A serious price hike. So even when the base model with 45 kWh should return, it will no longer be available for €30 000, as it has shortly been in Germany with the previous model. In the wake of the semiconductor shortage, Volkswagen decided to use what was available for higher-priced models with larger batteries. The ID.3 base model with a 45 kWh battery was then taken off the market.

According to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, VW will communicate prices at the end of April at the latest. So just ahead of the start of pre-sales. However, whether this is also true for the 45 kWh model or if the entry-level variant will launch later is unclear. In any case, VW already announced that a VW ID.3 with a smaller battery would be made available.

Since the launch of the ID. family, more than 600 000 IDs based on the modular electric drive (MEB) platform have already been delivered to customers around the world so far. The Volkswagen product range now comprises six ID. models. In addition to production in Zwickau and Dresden, the new ID.3 will also be built in the parent plant in Wolfsburg from autumn 2023.



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