VW Beetle successor revealed
VOLKSWAGEN has unleashed a car it hopes will be as influential as the original Beetle that put so many families on wheels.
The ID.3 hatchback is about the size of a Volkswagen Golf but eschews a petrol engine for electric motors, the first of many planned electric models from the German car making giant.
It is built on a new electric architecture that will form the basis of a multi-billion dollar push into the emerging electric vehicle space.
"The ID.3 marks the start of a major e-mobility campaign for the Volkswagen brand," says Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess.
"In around ten years almost half of the Group's cars in Europe and China will be electric. No other established manufacturer is pursuing this course as rigorously as we are."
Volkswagen referred to the ID.3 as the "third major chapter" in its 82-year history, behind the Beetle and Golf.
Partly borne from the desire to clean its image after the Dieselgate scandal whereby the brand was caught cheating its emissions on diesel vehicles, the ID.3 is the first of a family of all-electric ID models that will include a modern remake of the legendary Kombi.
"The ID.3 is an all-rounder that is suitable for everyday use," says Silke Bagschik, head of sales and marketing for a planned ID family. "It is compact, as such offering the manoeuvrability of a small car with the interior space of a mid-range vehicle."
Volkswagen will initially offer three ID.3 models, each stepping up its battery capacity to deliver a longer driving range between charges.
The basic car has a 45kWh battery capable of 330km whereas the top-of-the-line gets a 77kWh battery claimed to travel 550km between charges.
Unveiled ahead of this week's Frankfurt motor show, the ID.3 will be priced from less than €30,000 in Europe, or a bit more than $48,000.
However, it won't arrive in Australia until 2022 at the earliest.
While car makers as diverse as Tesla, Nissan and BMW have been producing electric vehicles for years, Volkswagen calls the ID.3 "pioneering" and a "new, electric way of thinking".
In revealing the ID.3 Volkswagen also updated its logo, the first major change since 2000.
It uses a simplified version of the VW lettering inside a dark blue circle.
Chief marketing officer Jochen Sengpiehl says it is about positioning the brand as "more human and more lively, to adopt the customer's perspective to a greater extent and to tell authentic stories".