Volkswagen issued a press release this week focusing on the upcoming launch of its ID.3 electric car. It confirms that deliveries of its ID.3 First Edition models will begin this summer and adds this interesting twist. The company says virtually all of those cars — 30,000 of them — will be delivered simultaneously. “The objective is to deliver the 30,000 pre-booked ID.3 vehicles in the 1st Edition to customers throughout Europe at almost the same time,” the company says.
With the market introduction of the ID.3 this summer, Volkswagen will make e-mobility affordable for many people. The basic version of the ID.3 will be less expensive in Germany in terms of acquisition and operation than comparable internal combustion models. As regards operating expenses alone, ID.3 drivers in Germany will save about €840 per year. “With the ID.3, the electric car will finally become affordable. This model is entirely fit for everyday use and even costs less than an internal combustion model thanks to the environmental bonus,” says Thomas Ulbrich, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for E-Mobility. Currently, preparations for the delivery of the ID.3 are well underway. “The time schedule will be met,” Ulbrich confirms. ”The ID.3 will be introduced to the market in the summer, as announced.”
There have been rumors suggesting Volkswagen is having major problems with the software installed in the first cars, which started rolling off the assembly line last November. The press release refers to that issue in oblique terms. “During production, the current software version will initially be transferred to the vehicle. Over subsequent months, the digital functions will be regularly updated.” The suggestion is, “Don’t worry, people, We’ve got this covered.”
The company is basing its claim that the ID.3 will be less expensive than an equivalent vehicle with a gasoline or diesel engine on a “true cost of ownership” analysis. Add up all the costs associated with owning an automobile — purchase price, registration fees, fuel, maintenance, insurance, and so forth. The bottom line is what is known as TCO.
And of course, at the present time, that calculation includes a sizable EV incentive from the German government together with the added benefit that electric cars in Germany fall into a lower insurance category and are therefore less expensive to insure. But Silke Bagschick, head of e-mobility marketing for Volkswagen, says “In the future, the electric car will also be attractively priced even without subsidies.” That is a day we are all patiently waiting for.
The company press release also confirmed that the manufacturing process and charging networks for its new MEB-based cars will be carbon neutral, utilizing renewable energy wherever possible, and that the ID.4 SUV variant will indeed enter production as scheduled later this year. The Volkswagen Group is investing $33 billion to bring electric cars to market and says it will be the largest electric car manufacturer in the world by 2025.
Elon Musk and Tesla may have something to say about that, but the competition between the two companies will be fun to watch. Tesla will be prodding VW to up its game when it comes to autonomous driving systems, but VW may prod Tesla into making more affordable electric cars that appeal to mass market buyers. Dare we suggest a Tesla Model 2 or Model 1 may be in the works somewhere? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.