Comparing Volkswagen ID.3 to Tesla Model 3 — Prices, Range, Features

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Now that you can officially order a Volkswagen ID.3, the car is starting to feel a lot more real. Also, though, some people have been surprised by current pricing and many have been scratching their heads simply trying to find the pricing and the range of various trims.

You can find the pricing for the 1st, 1st Plus, and 1st Max trims on Volkswagen’s website, but Volkswagen is not yet showing pricing for the base version of the ID.3, which makes sense since it’s still a long time before you can get that version. The problem for many people, though, is that the ID.3 was promoted as a car that would be available for “everyone” and would start at just under €30,000, whereas the trims noted above start at €39,995, €45,995, and €49,995, respectively.

To be fair, it was the same deal with the Tesla Model 3. Much of the hype was around the Model 3 starting at $35,000, but the first trims were much more expensive and it took a long time for Tesla to roll out the base version (which it actually barely did, as you couldn’t just order it online like you can the other versions and there was almost no point in getting the $35,000 version instead of the much better Model 3 Standard Range Plus for a few thousand dollars more and much better features).

Anyway, though, now that we’ve got some ID.3 cars you can actually buy, people are eager to dig into the pricing, the range, and the features more. I expected to mostly compare the ID.3 to gasoline/diesel models in its class in the coming years (and have already conducted cost of ownership comparisons with the Skoda Octavia, Renault Megane, Peugeot 308, and Volkswagen Golf). Plus, Volkswagen has proudly proclaimed that the ID.3 would cost less than its fossil-fueled rivals, which are the vehicles we do hope customers will be cross-shopping the ID.3 with and retiring from our cities. However, with the pricing similar to that of a Model 3, it seems to be time for one of the most obvious comparisons.

Leaving the Model 3 Performance out of it (since no ID.3 comes anywhere close to what it offers in terms of performance, and that’s precisely what you’re paying extra for), let’s have a quick look at 5 options on the German market right now (2 versions of the Model 3 and the 3 currently available versions of the ID.3). [Full disclosure: I own shares of both Tesla/TSLA and Volkswagen/VWAGY. Call me crazy — I won’t argue.]

Let’s look at each of those specs in individual charts.

So, in summary …

The current base version of the Volkswagen ID.3 has slightly more range (15 km) than the base version of the Model 3, while costing about €4,000 less. However, the Model 3 SR+ is much quicker and has much more cargo space. You can look more closely at various features of the vehicles, but the biggest difference is the infotainment system, with the Model 3 offering its giant touchscreen that I think is absolutely unbeatable but some buyers don’t like it compared to old-school knobs, buttons, and a small infotainment screen. If you’re purely looking to save money and get decent range for regional driving, the ID.3 1st looks like the choice. If you want more power, cargo space, and Tesla infotainment (not to mention Autopilot), the Model 3 appears to easily win your cashola.

Also note that you only get a panoramic roof with the ID.3 Max (the other ID.3 trims have a solid roof), but you get a full glass roof with any Model 3.

If you think you need more range (most Tesla buyers do choose the Model 3 Long Range, from what I’ve heard, but I chose the SR+), you basically have one choice — the Model 3 Long Range. (I assume this is why Volkswagen doesn’t show the range per trim on its website and only passes that info out through dealers.)

If you want seats that massage you and don’t really care about range or performance, the ID.3 1st Max is your baby.

I imagine the Model 3 Long Range will see more sales than the others in Europe. Though, I do think the Model 3 SR+ and ID.3 are compelling options for many Europeans. I have a hard time seeing a €4,000 savings as worth it for the worse performance, less cargo space, and lack of Tesla’s infotainment system, but there may be a large number of buyers who are not pulled by any of those features and appreciate the extra €4,000 in their pocket and 15 km in their battery.

When the real base ID.3 comes out, if comparing it with other electric cars, you wouldn’t really compare it with the Model 3, in my opinion. It’s supposed to have only 330 km of range, which is not comparable enough to the Model 3 SR+’s 409 km, especially when considering the Model 3 is also bigger and faster. I previously compared it to the Hyundai Kona EV and Nissan LEAF, which currently have 289 km and 270 km of range (respectively), yet cost several thousand euros more than the expected base ID.3. That said, those models will likely get spec/range boosts by the time the base ID.3 comes to market. It’s possible the base version of the ID.3 won’t come until 2022.

There’s also supposed to be a long-range version of the ID.3 at some point that has 550 kilometers (342 miles) of range from a 77 kWh battery.

There are other differences between the models as well. The Volkswagen ID.3 1st Max has a head-up display (though, it won’t be installed in the car until late 2020 or early 2021) and massaging seats. Though, it seems lower trims don’t have electronically controlled seats. All ID.3 trims seem to have a heated steering wheel. As noted above the ID.3 1st Max is the only ID.3 that doesn’t have a solid roof, and it has a panoramic roof rather than Tesla’s full glass roof. The ID.3 is a hatchback, which most people prefer over a trunk/boot. The Model 3 has faster charging capability and access to the Tesla Supercharger network. They have different interiors, exteriors, infotainment systems, hubcaps, and, of course, brands. Different people will put a different weight on different features — it’s not all about range, acceleration, cargo space, and price.

What do you think? Of all these possible models, including the eventual shorter range and longer range ID.3 trims, which would you choose if you were without a car today? Are there any particular features or specs that you think are critical for a buying decision?

Also, beyond your own nose, how do you see the ID.3 doing on the European market? (Remember, it won’t be available in the USA.)

If you’re curious about Tesla Model 3 ownership, peruse our Tesla Model 3 long-term review articles from several Model 3 owners, including myself.

Want to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model S, or Model X and need a referral code? Feel free to use mine to get some free Supercharging miles with your purchase:

You can also get a $250 discount on Tesla solar with that code.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book

Holiday Wish Book Cover

Click to download.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

Zachary Shahan has 7148 posts and counting. See all posts by Zachary Shahan