ID.3: VW puts the house on electric



THE SIGNIFICANCE of the name shouldn’t be lost on anyone. When Volkswagen talks of the ID.3, it means that this is the company’s third genre-changing vehicle. Beetle and Golf were iterations one and two.

In order to achieve this mass shift in buyer behaviour towards electric vehicles, VW plans to democratise the EV, to remove it from the preserve of early adopters and tech nerds.

VW boss Herbert Diess stood at the lectern and made the company’s intent crystal clear, claiming that the Golf

This is no long-term pipedream either. The first ID.3 deliveries will be with customers in the middle of next year, although it’s rumoured that Australian customers may not see the car before 2022.

Where Volkswagen goes, other manufacturers tend to follow, so the specifications for the ID.3 have the potential to define its class. This threetiered range is no longer defined solely on the basis of power. It has also been configured in terms of convenience.

The base version of the ID.3 features a 45kWh battery pack and will charge at up to 50kW. Should owners want to charge faster, they’ll need to step up to the mid-range 58kWh version whose DC fast charger will charge at a rate of 100kW, putting around 290km of range into the battery in 30 minutes. The most rapid 125kW charging capability is reserved for the 77kWh flagship model. All battery packs will be covered by an eight-year/160,000 kilometre warranty.

Beneath the angular bodywork sits Volkswagen’s MEB chassis. Designed from the ground up as a pure EV architecture, these underpinnings are highly modular, providing the basis not only for the ID.3 but also for vehicles like the Audi Q4 e-tron, the SEAT el-Born and the Skoda Vision iV.

Larger models will likely sit on the PPE (Premium Platform Electric) chassis as used by Porsche’s Taycan and Audi’s e-tron GT. The ID.3 will be built at the Zwickau plant in Germany, with production facilities in North America and China in advanced planning stages.

“The ID.3 has the exterior of a Golf more or less but the interior dimensions of a Passat because there is so much more room inside,” said VW spokesman Christopher Oemisch.

There’s also the tantalising prospect of an ID.3 R hot hatch. VW board member Jürgen Stackmann has gone on record stating that “if there is a future for R, it must be electric.” Even Volkswagen occasionally needs to tread lightly, however.

“We need to define what is R in the electric world,” Stackmann said. “It’s different to what we know of in a Golf or any other car.”





IT COSTS $5.3m and all 63 units are already accounted for, but that doesn’t stop us being intrigued by the Lamborghini Sián FKP 37. It draws its electrical input not from a battery pack but from a supercapacitor system developed in collaboration with MIT.

A third the weight of lithium-ion cells for the equivalent power, the supercapacitor in the Sián accumulates and discharges energy far more quickly than a battery, recharging after just one application of the brakes. It augments the 577kW 6.5-litre V12, adding a 25kW fillip at speeds of up to 130km/h in order to torque fill while the single-clutch sequential upshifts.

Positioned in the bulkhead between cockpit and engine, the electric system, comprising both e-motor and supercapacitor, weighs only 34kg and delivers a weight-to-power ratio of 1.0kg/hp. While that might seem underwhelming for an internal-combustion engine, it’s good for a compact electrical installation. The system output of both V12 and supercapacitor is rated at 602kW at 8500rpm, so it’s doubtful that any of the 63 owners will feel shortchanged.

Sant’Agata quotes a 0-100km/h time of “less than 2.8sec”, making it the fastest-accelerating Lamborghini ever and bettering the time of the permanently furious Aventador SVJ. Through the gears, the Sián is night and day quicker than the SVJ. Lamborghini claims a 65km/h-96km/h (40-60mph) time that is fully 1.2sec quicker than that posted by the SVJ.

The Sián breaks with a loose tradition of naming the cars after famous bulls, the word meaning ‘flash’ or ‘lightning’ in a Bolognese dialect. The FKP 37 suffix is a tribute to the late VW Group boss Ferdinand Karl Piëch, who was born in 1937.

The Y-shaped lighting signature is a direct tribute to the Terzo Millennio show car, while Lamborghini claims to have used the iconic Countach supercar as the inspiration for the Sián’s basic proportions.