This week Volkswagen announced the technical details of the batteries that’ll underpin its upcoming range of electric cars. As you’d expect from the manufacturing giant, its battery tech has scalability built in – it’ll offer battery packs that will give anywhere between 205 and 340 miles on a single charge.
This not only gives customers the choice of a cheaper ID model if they’re not going to need all that range and performance, but it also means Volkswagen can use the higher density batteries in its larger electric cars. After all, a small Polo-sized car isn’t going to need the energy that will be required to move a Passat-size car along at a decent lick.
Volkswagen also announced it’ll be guaranteeing its batteries for eight years, at which point – the German brand says – they’ll have retained at least 70 per cent of their capacity.
This sort of news wouldn’t normally be all that interesting on its own, but whatever Volkswagen does in the EV space is likely to become the de facto mass-market option for buyers.
Think about the Golf – ask someone on the street to name a normal car and there’s a healthy chance they’ll pick VW’s no-nonsense hatchback. If Volkswagen can achieve that level of awareness with their upcoming ID range of electric cars then we could well be on the way to moving into a new realm of mainstream consciousness for alternatively fuelled vehicles.
We ran a poll on DriveTribe to see where the preference for reasonably priced EVs currently lies. Of 3,650 people polled about which reasonably priced electric car people would buy, 32.2 per cent would currently buy a VW e-Golf – an electric version of the Mk7.5 Golf. That’s a relatively old car with a real-world electric range of just 125 miles and a purchase price of £33,500 – in other words, it’s quite expensive and doesn’t have as much real-world range of something like the Kie e-Niro. The e-Golf also isn’t based on a platform designed purely for an EV powertrain, like the ID3 will be. Yet it still led the poll, with the next nearest competitor being the BMW i3, with 25.6 per cent consideration. The Kia came in third with 16.1 per cent of respondents picking it.
If Volkswagen can realistically hit its target price of £26,000 for its entry-level version of the Golf-sized ID3, then it feels as if the brand won’t be able to build enough of them. Will this be the first reasonably priced EV to hit mass market consideration? All signs certainly point to it.