Volkswagen I.D. Will Cost Less Than Tesla Model 3


This story was first published on CleanTechnica

Volkswagen is peddling as fast as it can to transition from emissions spewing diesels to zero emissions electric cars. While it is scrounging together the cash to pay tens of billions of dollars in fines resulting from its diesel cheating scheme, it is also aiming to become the world’s leading electric car producer. The Volkswagen I.D. will be the first offering from VW’s new electric car brand.

Vokswagen ID electric car

Will Cost Less Than Tesla Model 3

The Volkswagen I.D. will have a range of 250 to 370 miles (knock off ~20% for EPA equivalents) and cost thousands less than the Tesla Model 3, the company claims. In terms of size, the I.D. will be similar to the Volkswagen Golf and, like that car, will be a 5 door hatchback design. The differing range claims indicate buyers may have a choice of batteries depending on their needs and budget.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess told the press this week he expects the top version of the I.D. to sell for no more than €30,000 — about $34,500 at today’s exchange rate. Entry-level versions could be up to $7,000 less. “We get a vehicle with the exterior dimensions of the Golf … the abilities of a Tesla … at the price of a diesel,” he said.

If Volkswagen can deliver an electric car with 200+ miles of range, room for 5, and a hatchback for around $28,000, it better be prepared to build lots of them. At those prices, the I.D. would be competitive with some of the best-selling conventional cars in the world, especially after incentives are figured in. Tesla may have a better product, but in the mass market, the three most important considerations have been and always will be — the price, the price, and the price.

Volkswagen I.D. Built On MEB Modular Platform

Speaking at the Shanghai auto show earlier this year, Christian Senger, the head of Volkswagen’s electric car project, told reporters the company has made “huge progress” in reducing production costs of its all-electric vehicles, thanks in large part to its new MEB modular electric car platform. “Offering our electric cars for prices similar to combustion engine vehicles really is a game changer,” said Senger. “We’re using the need to step from traditional combustion engine cars to reinvent the VW brand.”

Volkswageen I.D. Production schedule

According to a slide leaked from a recent Volkswagen dealers meeting and published on Dutch website,  the company plans on introducing 5 electric cars based on the MEB architecture between 2019 and 2022. The I.D. is apparently for European customers only, but that slide may not tell the whole story.

A slightly larger crossover vehicle called the I.D. Cross is slated for Europe and China. Two other electric cars — the I.D. Lounge and the I.D. AEROe — are bound for US customers. Finally, the 21st century version of 1960s funk — the much anticipated I.D. Buzz minibus — will arrive in 2022. The Lounge appears to be a crossover vehicle while the AEROe looks like a low slung sports car that may be similar to the iconic Tesla Roadster.

High-Power Charging Network Due In 2018

At an automobile conference in Munich last week, VW chief strategist Thomas Sedran told the audience that the European superfast charging network being developed by Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes, and Ford is coming along well. The first superfast charger is scheduled for installation next year, according to German trade source Automobil Produktion, Porsche just installed one of these 350 kW charging stations outside its new regional office in Berlin. The Porsche charger can be used by Tesla drivers with an adapter.

About 400 superfast charging stations will be installed first along main European travel corridors. They will be capable of up to 350 kW of charging power, which is triple Tesla’s current max of 120 kW, and they will use the CCS plug. “2018 will be the first fast loader. This makes it possible for the electric car to travel without worries on holiday,” Sedran said.

The CCS standard does not interface with Tesla’s proprietary charging standard at this time, but Tesla did join the CCS consortium last year, an indication that a move to standardized charging procedures in Europe — and possibly the US — is underway in the background. If Tesla and CCS join forces, it could spell the end of the CHAdeMO system used by most Japanese manufacturers. While that might be bad news for CHAdeMO fans, having uniform charging standards could give a big boost to the acceptance of electric cars by mainstream buyers.

About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I'm interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.
  • carmiturchick

    It sounds great…but why not bring those first two vehicles to the US market too? If you can make such a fantastic car that equals a Tesla for $7-8,000 less and you see pre-orders for the Model 3 at 400,000…? Then if you can make such a great car in 2019 already why do you think EV sales will be just a million cars for VW by 2025? Who will want to buy an ICE car from you when your EVs at the same price are far superior? Surely your EVs in 2025 will be far better than those made in 2019, which already promise to charge in fifteen minutes and have superior performance and lower ownership costs per mile…

    What VW is missing is sufficient supply of batteries here and they know it. They and other automakers will be in real trouble because competing with Tesla going forward means making great EVs at pretty affordable prices and their ICE cars simply will not be able to compete. Demand for ICE cars will die far sooner than their ability to produce EVs in sufficient numbers to compensate will arrive. As VW has said, they need 40 Gigafactories worth of batteries by 2025 for everyone in the industry to have the batteries for 25% of their sales to be EVs. What this misses is that consumer demand for EVs will be far higher than 25% of the market, but it makes clear that having even enough batteries for 25% is unlikely.

    • chris

      You’re argument makes a lot of sense and I could see having an EV as my daily driver if I could have a second car that is ICE powered. You’re right there will be a battery shortage and you can’t have an EV without a battery and if there aren’t enough EV’s then why build charging stations on every corner?

  • Epicurus

    It’s a bit unsettling to listen to the CEO of a company known for years of lying and cheating brag about products that don’t even exist and won’t for years.

    • chris

      If you’re that easily unsettled I feel for you. Yes they cheated and they were deservedly fined record amounts but what do you expect him to do get on stage and whip himself? Every car maker who has a downsized engine with a turbo on it to make up for lost power is cheating just not as obviously. During the EPA test cycle the turbo is usually off boil so mileage is great but real world mpg is about the same. Isn’t this a new CEO installed after the scandal? I would expect him to positively speak about the companies future and help to keep them in business and lots of workers employed. If the largest carmaker in the world commits to greener cars due to the scandal then at least something good came out of it

  • Rick Danger

    C’mon Steve. Your headline sounds like fact, when IN FACT, it’s more VW PR BS.
    That headline is beneath you, brother.

  • chris

    I’ve noticed that whenever any article mentions possible competition for Tesla the Elon Musk fanboys feel the need to crap all over it.

    • Rick Danger

      I’ve noticed that whenever VW puts out yet another PR piece about what they plan to do but haven’t done yet, and treat it as fait accompli, all the VW fanboys blindly fall in line to worship.

      Fixed it for you.

      • chris

        Actually I take a wait and see approach. Maybe it’ll come to fruition,maybe it won’t. I don’t have your crystal ball. You are already certain it won’t. All car companies engage in PR.

        • Rick Danger

          How assumptive of you to put words in my mouth I did not say. You, on the other hand, apparently can’t go back and read what *you* said, nor read what the headline to this story says.
          You’re the one who threw down the gauntlet, and now when your words get turned around pointing your way, you want to backpedal. What a surprise.
          Yes. Competition IS good. When VW has something to compete WITH, get back to me.

          • chris

            Actually my comment on Musk fanboys wasn’t directed specifically at you but you replied to me supposedly fixing it.I agree on the headline it should say “VW might build” but that doesn’t attract as many readers. I’m not backpedaling I specifically said ‘possible competition for Tesla’ , I used the word possible and I stand by it . I’ve read many article where people crap all over any electric car project from an auto manufacturer,I I guess because they aren’t pure electric like Tesla. I have nothing against Musk but apparently he’s the new Steve Jobs for some of the people that used to worship him.

  • Ho Hum- anyone can sell a car for less than the competition if they aren’t actually producing said car. C’mon VW, quit talking and just do it.

    If VW was really committed to EVs in the US, they would not just be talking about future vehicles. They would also be planning a charging network, battery production, and a commitment to phase out ICE production. Then they would truly be a Tesla competitor.

    • chris

      It looks like the article says they’re working with other manufacturers to build a charging network in Europe. The difficulty getting one built in the U.S. is part geography but mostly due to our government. It’s a catch 22 somewhat. There are a lot of people who might buy an electric car if charging stations were plentiful and charging times were quicker but private companies don’t want to spend tons of money building charging infrastructure if the demand isn’t there yet. It’ll require standardization of charging stations AND a public / private commitment. Phasing out ICE production would be business suicide at this point in time.If I’m not mistaken Tesla isn’t making money off their car sales at this point.

      • Tesla built charging stations across the US, before profits, because they want to sell EVs. If they can do it so can VW. It’s all about commitment.
        Phasing out ICE production does not have to be business suicide if it was done over the proper time frame, along with the introduction of compelling EV models.

        • chris

          I agree – the proper time frame. For now conventional auto manufacturers should develop EVs in parallel with ICE cars. I applaud Tesla’s effort but the majority of their charging stations are in specific areas of the country. I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia and I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. They are nowhere near prolific enough to supply the needs of the majority of the U.S. driving population. Musk was smart to concentrate entirely on EVs as he pretty much captured a niche market that admittedly is growing. Also a battery powered car is much easier to develop from scratch than an ICE powertrain that could compete. Tesla sold 76,000 cars last year none of which have I could afford. There were approximately 17 million cars sold in the United States.

    • chris

      I like the idea but it’s not a sustainable business model to lose money building infrastructure in the hopes sales will follow . I’m all for green energy but VW, like other car companies, are in business to make money. I have yet to see a Tesla charging station where I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia. It’s a big country. Tesla built charging stations in states where they got government help

      • Jim Smith

        your “local” commuting is not Tesla’s goal so not sure why you feel entitled to have to Super Charger in your backyard.

        • chris

          Not sure what you mean as I never implied I deserve a supercharger in my backyard but I recently took a mini road trip vacation with my family and I didn’t see any superchargers on the trip. The only electric car chargers I saw were at Hershey. We got gas a few times taking an average of 3 minutes or so. Assuming auto manufacturers go full electric like you guys seem to think they should then if say 50% of the cars were EV and they were all capable of being charged in a half hour ( wishful thinking for most) there would still need to be hundreds at every “gas” station. I’m not anti electric-actually the opposite- but I’m rational. It’s funny that you say Tesla isn’t interested in my ‘commute’ because in my opinion that’s what electric cars are good for. I only drive a 4 miles back and forth to work do an EV would work fine for that but they are way too limited in the vast majority of this country for things like I did this week. I looked at a few EV’s when I got my last car but most optimistically had a range of 80 miles which might get me back and forth to the airport if I don’t hit traffic and I don’t have 90k for a Tesla in order to get the added range.