The good folks over at Top Gear have just test driven the compact VW ID prototype, and VW has released more specs on its upcoming EV. How will it compare to the other affordable EVs available in 2020?
Photo by Nicolas Zart for CleanTechnica
Latest VW ID Specs
Along with giving test drives to Top Gear and a few other outfits, VW has provided further technical details on the 2020 compact ID. VW is currently saying there will be two range options — 206 miles (WLTP rated) and 312 miles (WLTP rated). Both have headline DC charging speeds of “up to 125 kW.” Both share the same 134 kW motor (rear-wheel drive), and the Top Gear reviewer estimates 0–62 mph (0–100 km/h) in approximately 9 seconds (no official figures have yet been given). Top speed will be limited to 99 mph (160 km/h). There is a decent 11 kW onboard AC–DC converter for AC charging.
Although the DC charging figure is a bit vague, VW is saying 0–80% charging will take 30 minutes. We don’t yet have kWh specs for the batteries, but VW has previously mentioned 48 kWh (usable) for the standard range battery, which sounds about right for 206 miles of WTLP range. If that’s the case, we can expect the larger battery to be approximately 73–75 kWh usable (a fractional efficiency hit for the extra 100 kg of mass).
This being the case, we can guess that the 30 minute 0–80% recharge time certainly applies to the smaller battery pack, because adding 38.4 kWh in 30 minutes (averaging ~77 kW) should be readily achievable given the headline 125 kW charging. However, adding 60 kWh to the larger pack in 30 minutes would require an average charging rate of 120 kW. This seems optimistic. However, VW does have a history of giving accurate guidance for kW charging power (e.g., on the 36 kWh e-Golf, VW claims 40 kW, and it achieves 40 kW — see the Fastned charging curve below), so it’s quite possible that the 125 kW figure is a realistic figure and that the 30 minute claim does apply even to the large battery variant. Good news if this is really the case.
How does the ID compare to other affordable EVs available in 2020?
We don’t yet know the exact pricing on the VW ID, but VW has hinted that it will have a starting price around that of a similarly specified VW Golf diesel. UK prices (PDF price list) currently range from £20,505 to £29,985 ($25,847 to $37,792). The Golf diesel’s Euro price in Germany tops out at a slightly more reasonable €31,525 ($35,635). Which end of the price spectrum the ID will come in at is anyone’s guess, but for the long-range variant, with a gross battery pack size in the region of 80 kWh, we certainly can’t expect under $30,000. At least $35,000 is probably more realistic (before incentives). This pricing will be around the ball park of the 60 kWh Nissan LEAF and the base Tesla Model 3.
What will WLTP range translate into in more realistic EPA figures? Looking at recent affordable EVs, the Hyundai Kona’s (corrected) WLTP rating is 279 miles, and its EPA rating is 259 miles. The Kia Niro’s WLTP is 282 miles, and its EPA rating is 239 miles. It’s no easy matter to translate the ambiguous WLTP ratings into more realistic EPA ratings, with the WLTP being on the order of 8% to 19% more generous. If we average this to 13%, then ID’s EPA range rating should be in the ballpark of 182 miles (standard range variant) and 276 miles (long-range variant).
We have no clear idea of the ID’s precise aerodynamic performance and motor efficiency profile, so it’s hard at this stage to estimate the highway range of the ID. Having a decent highway-speed range is a key requirement for an EV to be an all-around capable replacement for a fossil car. The recent Hyundai Kona EV’s EPA highway range is 226 miles, some 14.5% lower than its EPA combined range. Assuming VW has focused more on highway efficiency (using a highway rating just 12% lower than the combined rating), the EPA highway rating should be around 162 miles (standard range) and 246 miles (long range). Allow +/- 5% on these figures, as we are compounding estimates upon estimates.
Let’s then put these figures together with what we know of other affordable EVs that will be available in 2020. I am leaving out the current Korean EVs from this comparison, because we don’t know whether they will get updated range or charging speeds between now and the release of the 2020 VW ID. The Korean EVs are already very competent vehicles that are available now. We know the 60 kWh Nissan LEAF will be available by 2020, with EPA highway range (extrapolating from the current LEAF) of around 205–210 miles, and 100 kW DC charging. It will also be priced around $35,000.
The $35,000 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range will also be available in volume by 2020. We know that Tesla Supercharger v.3 will be in operation by 2020, and that Tesla has hinted at charging speeds of 200 kW to 250 kW, and that Musk has said v.3 will be “much faster” than the current 120 kW Superchargers.
The Model 3 Long Range’s EPA document states that the “vehicle is also capable of accepting DC current up to 525 amps from an off-board charger,” which translates to a potential peak charge rate of 183.75 kW, but 165–170 kW peak is probably a safer bet (the Model 3 Supercharging slowly tapers after 50% SOC, equivalent to a voltage of around 330V).
The v.3 Supercharger should allow the long-range Model 3 to Supercharge from 0% to 80% in under 25 minutes (assuming no change to pack voltage). It should also charge 10% to 80% in around 22–23 minutes. The standard-range Model 3 will likely have a lower peak charging rate, but it also has a smaller battery to refill and will probably match 0% to 80% charging in 25 minutes on v.3 Superchargers.
Likewise, the Tesla Model 3 Mid Range will likely be available in a non-premium trim by 2020 for $41,000, a step up in price from what the VW ID long-range will offer but with similar highway range, faster charging, and much higher performance.
Let’s Graph Them
Let’s compare the highway range and recharging of these EVs via the standard highway journey graph, but this time, instead of 30 minutes, we will use 20 minutes as the reference charging duration, to tease apart the different charging speeds. As always, your journey profile will dictate whether it’s sensible to charge for longer or shorter than the reference duration given here:
Note that the graph assumes VW’s claim of 0% to 80% in 30 minutes applies to both variants. We can adjust these estimates if necessary, as further information emerges. As always, we use a 90% range figure because you don’t count on driving down to completely empty before recharging.
The range added in 20 minutes assumes using optimal DC chargers that provide the highest power these EVs can take advantage of. In reality, we don’t yet know what will be the 2020 density of CCS 150 kW chargers for the VW ID, nor the density of the LEAF’s optimal chargers (100 kW, likely still CHAdeMO). We do know that the Tesla Supercharger network already has good density, and we assume we will see most stalls upgraded to the faster v.3 by 2020.
We don’t have clear technical specifications on other affordable EVs that may be available by 2020, so don’t discount other EVs that may be available. There are also several great EVs already on the road from Hyundai and Kia, as well as from Tesla, which will have provided a good couple of years of excellent service by the time VW’s offerings appear. All the EVs in the chart will be very capable all-around vehicles for most people, and a far better experience than driving a gas vehicle.