VW is teasing the next-gen ID.3 and it needs an upgrade

VW has teased the next generation VW ID.3 and its production plans for the vehicle.

In a press release this morning, Volkswagen showed off drawings of the upcoming second generation of the VW ID.3, some key upgrades coming to the vehicle, and production plans. But with all of these details on the trendy EV hatchback, the German automaker didn’t clarify if it would be coming to the U.S.

The images released by VW this morning are pretty striking. The new ID.3, while quite similar to the previous generation, seems to have adopted more aggressive styling cues seen on the Cupra Born version of the platform. Perhaps most striking in the renders is the heads-up display, but the smoothed-over front section is also a welcome design change.

Other than the striking images, VW outlined a few upgrades coming to the ID.3. Foremost were improvements to software and interior tech; the ID.3 will finally be OTA update capable, have a larger 12-inch center screen, and improved software UI. On top of that, VW is promising improvements to tech performance and general software improvements. The press release did not address the performance capabilities of the new vehicle, leaving some to ponder if any technical enhancements will come with this new generation.

VW says that it will also be expanding production of the ID.3 from the Zwickau plant to the Wolfsberg plant and that pre-ordering is now available in Germany, with orders expected to be delivered starting in Q4 2023. The next generation ID.3 starts at 43,995 euros, including VAT ($46,135), and will be available in five trims; life, business, style, max, and tour. The full release of the vehicle is coming in the Spring of next year.

The new ID.3 is coming at a strange time for Volkswagen. While the company recently reached the milestone of half a million ID electric vehicles sold worldwide, they are also reconsidering building a new manufacturing facility that could aid in the company’s transition to electric vehicles. Simultaneously, the company is investing billions into its PowerCo battery manufacturing subsidiary, a company that they hope they can turn into a “global battery champion.”

When taken as a whole, many observers are unsure of the future of the VW Group. While VW certainly seems focused on EV introduction and production, it still has reservations and isn’t dedicating as much as many competitors. This is especially apparent in the United States, where VW has only introduced a single electric vehicle that hasn’t exactly become a raging success; the ID.4.

As VW progresses into its next generation of electric vehicles and begins introducing new hotly anticipated EV models, opinions on the company may change. However, VW has a lot of work to do to win over consumers who often see Volkswagen products as behind in technology and less affordable than competitors.

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Volkswagen’s electric car lineup is now mature enough that it’s introducing second-generation models — and it appears the company is taking some criticism to heart. VW has teased a redesign of the ID.3 that addresses complaints about the first version while upgrading the technology. The compact EV now sports a “matured” design with a supposedly sharper-looking exterior and higher-quality interior materials. Importantly, it’s also more functional — there’s a larger 12-inch infotainment display, two cupholders in the center console and a removable luggage compartment floor.

The tech may be the centerpiece. VW stresses the new ID.3 will use the company’s “latest” software platform, which boosts the sometimes-sluggish performance and allows for over-the-air updates. It will also reflect feature upgrades that include easier paid EV charging, adaptive lane guidance and parking aids.

VW won’t formally unveil the revamped ID.3 until the spring, and pre-orders placed now won’t arrive until the last quarter of 2023 due to “high order volume.” However, it’s keeping the current starting price of €43,995 (about $43,600) for the Life trim. Business, Style, Max and Tour variants will also be available.

There’s no mention of which markets will get the new EV. As before, though, we wouldn’t expect a North American ID.3 launch. VW remains focused on crossovers and SUVs like the ID.4 in this market, and its fledgling Chattanooga EV factory will still be ramping up production through 2023. All the same, the second-gen ID.3 will be worth a look as a preview what to expect for revisions of those models that do cross the Atlantic. They may not be complete reinventions, but they should fare better against stiff competition from the likes of Ford and Nissan.

Lucid had more to show today than its less expensive Air models. The auto startup has finally teased its second EV, the long-in-the-making Gravity SUV. The vehicle will share the swooping visual language of the Air while offering up to three rows of seating that can accommodate seven people. It should also have a next-gen version of Lucid’s touchscreen-heavy cockpit, and purportedly offer more range than “any other EV” outside of the Air.

The company cautions that the Gravity design and specifications aren’t final. What Lucid is showing now is largely what you’d expect, however — it’s a big people-hauler with perks like a panoramic roof. As with Tesla’s Model X, the three-row configuration doesn’t leave much room in the back for either passengers or cargo. The rear space is “flexible,” according to Lucid, so you might not be stuck if you need to carry a large load.

You will be waiting a while to buy the SUV. Reservations for the Gravity open in early 2023, and it won’t reach the US or Canada until 2024. Customers outside those countries will have to be more patient, and the firm hasn’t disclosed pricing. It’s safe to presume the EV will be expensive, though, when even the ‘entry’ Air starts at $87,400. This is more for customers who would otherwise consider a Model X, Mercedes EQS SUV or Polestar 3.

The Gravity could be Lucid’s most important EV to date, whatever it costs. The Air may be fast, but its sedan form factor limits its appeal in an increasingly SUV-centric market. The new model could help Lucid reach a wider audience, even if the clientele will still be limited to wealthy buyers willing to take a chance on a young brand.


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