A stock ID.3 First Pro Performance equipped with a 58 kWh battery was driven from the factory in Zwickau, Germany to Schaffhausen, Switzerland — a distance of 531 kilometers — without recharging. The official range for that model of the ID.3 is 420 kilometers using the WLTP standard. Behind the wheel was Swiss driver Felix Egolf [what are the odds that someone driving a Volkswagen electric car on a record setting run would be named Egolf?].
In a press release, Volkswagen refers to Egolf as a noted “hypermiling” driver, whatever that means. The automotive world has long focused on extracting maximum mileage from cars, as witnessed by the Mobil Economy Run that took place in the United States from 1936 until 1968. In that highly competitive environment, drivers sometimes placed an egg between their right foot and the gas pedal to avoid pushing on it too hard.
These sorts of events have as much relevance to real world driving as a Tesla drag race against a quarter horse but people have been doing such stunts since the dawn of the automotive era in an attempt burnish the luster of their favorite brand. If sitting behind the wheel for nine hours to go 331 miles is your idea of a good time, have at it!
This was not a true “hypermiling” event like the one Hyundai did recently with its Kona Electric equipped with a 62 kWh battery. Earlier this month, three of those cars drove around the Lausitzring racetrack in northeast Germany at an average speed of about 30 km/h for 35 hours. After a total of 36 driver changes, all of the cars traveled more than 1000 km on a single charge, with the best of them covering 1,026 kilometers.
The Volkswagen ID.3 trip was done on public roads — 44% of which were highways — at an average speed of 56 km/h — not blazingly fast but not creeping along. That speed is actually almost twice as fast at the Hyundai Kona drivers drove around the Lausitzring. During the journey, Egolf took maximum advantage of regenerative braking whenever possible and drafted in the wake of trailer trucks when he could. The navigation system, daytime running lights, radio, and ventilation system were used as needed along the way.
Add in that Schaffhausen is more than 300 feet higher above sea level that Zwickau. Also, there was a cameraman and a lot of equipment along as well. The total weight of the driver, cameraman, and gear was around 250 kilos. The actual power consumption during the trip was 10.9 kWh/100 km, substantially less than the norm for the ID.3, which is between 15.4 and 14.5 kWh/100 km.
“This car has everything, it is compact but spacious, has a cool, almost futuristic design and a low drag coefficient”, Egolf said when he arrived in Schaffhausen. The company says that although the record breaking journey is not entirely comparable with day-to-day trips, it nevertheless underpins the everyday practicality of the ID.3. “With its high-volt battery, efficient drivetrain and fast charging capability, even long journeys are not a problem,” adds company spokesperson Reinhard de Vries,“This is also a strong message for the team in Zwickau and for the entire ID. team.”
Is there a point to all this? Yes. If you drive an electric car like the ID.3, you can travel virtually anywhere you want without worrying about range. There is also a lesson for those who may find themselves in need of a few extra miles from the battery — slow down and turn off the A/C or heat. Those are pretty much the same strategies drivers have been using to eke out a few more miles from their conventional cars when the gas gauge shows the tank is nearly empty and there is not a gas station in sight. The message for people considering an ID.3 is simple. To paraphrase Bobby McFerrin: “Don’t worry. Drive happy!”
Deliveries of the ID.3 are about to begin in Europe. Earlier this year, Thomas Ulbrich, the Volkswagen board member responsible for e-mobilty, told the press, “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. Asked about rumored delays caused by persistent software issues, he said, “The time schedule will be met. The ID.3 will be introduced to the market in the summer as announced.”
For a discussion about the likely 5 year cost of ownership of an ID.3 versus its corporate cousin, the Volkswagen Golf, see Zachary Shahan’s analysis, which shows the actual costs of ownership to be very nearly dead even depending on which trim level of each is being discussed. Here’s Zachary’s take away: “The rankings remained the same as in the initial analysis. The VW ID.3 1st costs just a bit more than a low-end, base VW Golf, and the ID.3 1st plus costs a bit more than a high-end VW . The ID.3 Max and its massaging seats remains a few thousand euros more expensive than those two options.” For more on this latest (but certainly not the last) record setting run, see the video below.