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VW Starts ID.3 Production at Transparent Factory

  • VW’s Transparent Factory in Dresden, Germany, is now the second home of the ID.3 electric hatch, which has seen a surge of orders in Europe.
  • The VW ID.4 electric SUV will be first to arrive stateside this year, but the ID.3 has not been slated for the U.S.
  • The Dresden factory is now the fourth plant producing MEB platform vehicles, with Chattanooga, Tennessee, scheduled to be next in 2022 with ID.4 production.

    VW has launched production of its electric ID.3 hatchback at a second site in Germany, converting its famed Transparent Factory in Dresden to EV production. A technological showcase, the Transparent Factory produced the VW Phaeton and the first-gen Bentley Continental Flying Spur when both models debuted over a decade ago, and it’s now the second home of the ID.3 hatch after its Zwickau, Germany, plant kicked off production of the MEB platform family of cars.

    The first model to be launched on the MEB platform, racing ahead of the ID.4 electric SUV, the ID.3 offers an EV experience in a Golf-sized package, and had almost caught up to the Golf in December 2020 when it came to sales in Germany. That’s right: The ID.3 came close to eclipsing Golf sales in its home country a month ago, as Automotive News Europe noted, just as EV sales in Europe have surged dramatically over the past year.

    “The Transparent Factory plays an important role within the Volkswagen brand: Here, visitors, customers, and guests come into direct contact with the mobility of tomorrow,” said Danny Auerswald, site manager of the Transparent Factory. “We are a production plant, tourist attraction, event location, test lab, and delivery center—all in one. With the start of the production of the ID.3, we are giving the green light for our strategic realignment.”

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    In Germany the ID.3 is offered with a choice of 58-kWh and 77-kWh batteries, and with a motor mounted just ahead of the rear axle producing 201 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque. With the smaller battery the ID.3 is rated at 260 miles in Europe in the WLTP cycle, while the larger battery stretches that range to 340 miles. The EPA range is estimated to land around 200 miles for the smaller battery, however, and could be a more realistic estimate of its real-world range. In Europe the ID.3 currently starts at around $39,000 before any government incentives, and will become even less expensive when the 45-kWh battery version becomes available later this year, offering 205 miles of range in the WLTP cycle.

    However, the ID.3 is not headed stateside, at least not in the near term.

    assembly of the id 3 in the transparent factory dresden
    Dresden is now the second site for ID.3 production.

    Volkswagen

    The first MEB-platform model that will be offered in the states will be the ID.4, which is set to start arriving in dealerships in a matter of weeks, and will be joined by other electric VW models in the near term. The ID.4 itself will also be produced in Chattanooga, Tennessee, starting next year. But for now, it’s the ID.3 that has been given a raucous reception in Europe just as the sun sets on the current generation of the Golf, and we have to wonder just what the ratio of ID.3s to Golfs will be when the next Golf debuts.

    We also have to wonder if the ID.3 will eventually make its way stateside, as gas-engined cars (including the Golf itself) begin to fade from the scene over the next decade and a half.

    Will VW be able to keep the ID.3 and even smaller EVs already in the works out of North America for long, even if it’s the electric SUVs and crossovers that buyers are currently after?

    “Volkswagen is continuing to pursue its electric offensive. In addition to new electric models, this also includes the transformation of the global production network,” said Thomas Ulbrich, member of the board of management for electric mobility at Volkswagen. “At Dresden we are already converting the fourth Volkswagen site to the new ID. family and the MEB. At the same time we are ramping up volume production in the Zwickau electric car plant and in our two Chinese MEB plants every week. In doing so we reaffirm our ambitions to take on a role as global leaders in electric mobility.”

    Should VW offer the ID.3 in the States after the ID.4? Let us know in the comments below.

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