Volkswagen has been talking about ID since it first unveiled the ID Concept at the Paris Motor Show in 2016. At the time VW was embroiled in the Dieselgate scandal, but a lot has happened since the unveil. 

VW's approach will be "electric for all", sitting in contrast to sibling Audi's "electric for those with money", the same sort of line that Jaguar took with the i-Pace, and Tesla is trying to shake off with the Model 3

As such, it is cars like the Nissan Leaf that are in VW's sights for its launch model, the compact ID.3 in 2020, with the ID Buzz appearing in 2022 and a T-Roc size SUV cited for 2024 - with a price as low as £18,000.

The first car has been officially been named as the ID.3 and VW hopes it will change the motoring world.

MEB family values 

VW, naturally, has something of an advantage over many of its rivals - and that comes down to a boring thing called scale. With a group that spans Audi and Porsche at the premium end of the market - the former well into its electrification plans and the latter getting close with the Taycan - and Seat and Skoda at the other end, there are lots of outlets for its electric vehicles.

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The platform for the ID - MEB (modular electric drive matrix) - is designed specifically for electric cars, rather than being an exercise in retro fitting. This isn't unique as a lot of brands are developing on new platforms, rather than some first-gen electric models based around existing cars, but VW is really investing in this platform in a big way.

Importantly, MEB is flexible, so it can be used from SUVs to vans, with Thomas Ulbrich, responsible for e-mobility at VW saying "The modular electric drive matrix is arguably the most important project in the history of Volkswagen, similar to the transition from the Beetle to the Golf."

VW also says that MEB is available to other manufacturers, to assist in the electrification of other models going forward, and with the announcement of closer working between VW and Ford, we wouldn't be surprised to see ford using this platform in the future.

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MEB will underpin the VW ID models, and it's expected to be used for 15 million cars across the VW group in the first wave, with four major vehicles types - the ID.3 (the launch model), the Vizzion (saloon), Crozz (SUV) and the Buzz (van). It was recently confirmed that ID Crozz will be an electrified version of the VW T-Cross.

VW has revealed details about the chassis, with an electric motor on the rear axle and the floor of the ID is where the battery sits. There's no surprise there, as that's what you find on the Audi e-tron, with a battery in the floor meaning that the centre of gravity is low and the weight distributed evenly through the car.

VW ID range and charging details

The first model to launch, the ID.3, will come with three different battery options, basically small, medium and large. Whether this will remain the same for all the ID models, we don't know - we suspect there will be larger batteries for larger vehicles.

  • 45kWh, 205 miles/330km
  • 58kWh, 260 miles/420km
  • 77kWh 340 miles/550km

The first version - the ID.3 1st will arrive with the 420km battery.

The ID will have a 125kWh charging system, allowing charging from 0-80 per cent in 30 minutes. Of course that depends on the capacity of the battery, and it will use the CCS standard connector.

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VW is also working on charging infrastructure both across Europe and the US and has already said that car batteries will have second-life as storage.

However, those who buy the ID.3 1st edition will be able to get 2000kWh free changing across VW's partner network Ionity, using the VW charging app We Charge, which is a nice little incentive to get people driving.

It's going to be like a Golf

The Golf is the iconic VW model and VW is aiming to have the ID costing about the same as the Golf diesel. There's already an e-Golf - which offers a 100kW, 136PS, electric motor and 231km range - but you can expect the ID compact to essentially be positioned in the same place as the Golf as a mass volume family car.

There will be three trim versions of the launch ID.3 - the standard 1ST, the ID.3 1ST Plus and the ID.3 1ST Max. The latter will come with a panoramic sunroof and augmented reality heads-up display, while the Plus gets bi-colour exterior and interior.

Prototypes of the ID were driven in late 2018 - and you can catch up the details from the excellent Fully Charged video below for a taster of that experience - but it's clear that it's sitting in the same space again as the Golf. While the car remains camouflaged, it's clear it's sized somewhere between the Golf and Polo. That's also clear from the reveal when pre-orders went live.

There will also be onboard connectivity and driver assistant systems, as well as a heat pump climate control system.

There are plenty of other ID concept models, including the ID Buzz campervan and a Buzz Cargo panel van slated for 2022 release, while an ID Buggy has been teased. The real aim of the ID Buggy is to show the flexibility of the platform and add some excitement. 

The compact ID model will be built at the Zwickau plant in Germany, but VW is also going to be building in Emden and Hanover, with the latter highlighted for the production of the ID Buzz van.

When will the ID be available?

The official unveiling of the VW ID will take place at IAA - that's the Frankfurt motor show - in September 2019. The production will start in late 2019, with deliveries in 2020.

VW also ran its first pre-orders scheme for the ID. Opening orders on on 8 May, it asked for a £750/€1000 refundable deposit to be placed. It has reported that over 10,000 pre-orders were placed in the first 24 hours.