German auto group Volkswagen has taken an earnest first step on promises to deliver millions of electric vehicles to its global markets, as it works to restore the reputation that was all but demolished in the Dieselgate emissions scandal of 2015.
Last night (Australian time), VW board member for marketing and sales Jürgen Stackmann confirmed that in less than one month since opening the books to take reservations, the German carmaker had taken 20,000 reservation payments for its ID.3 hatchback.
Apparently this is far more than the 30,000 reservations the automaker expected by September, having only made plans to build 30,000 of the special edition ID.3 which it is first releasing to market.
After the initial 30,000 are reserved, the carmaker intends to release the base model, which it has said will start at “under €40,000” (converts to under $A64,350).
This without so much as even releasing proper images for the ID.3, which has so far only been sighted in red and blue camouflaged livery.
Granted these are only “pre-orders,” as Stackmann points out, and 20,000 is not exactly groundbreaking; in comparison, Tesla’s Model 3 attracted as many as 400,000 pre-orders in the first two weeks of opening the books.
#GoodNews: we have now exceeded 20,000 #VWID3 pre-bookings. This is already impressive, given that #prebooking only started one month ago! We originally wanted to reach 30,000 by the #IAA in September. #VWID #emobility #NowYouCan 👉 https://t.co/JI1pgsArp4 pic.twitter.com/XSJfHWERgT
— Jürgen Stackmann (@jstackmann) June 4, 2019
How fast these orders will transform into sales will be the next question. The carmaker first said it wanted to deliver the world’s first mass-volume electric car back in 2016 (a milestone that has since been well and truly surpassed by both the Tesla Model 3 and the Nissan Leaf).
Nevertheless, with another model – the electric version of the Mii city car – now unveiled by fellow carmaker SEAT, it could be that VW is making efforts to make good on its promise.
Debuted in 2017 at the Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2017, the electric Mii joins the Volkswagen e-up! city car which has been around since 2015. The Mii electric has a 61 kW motor and 212 Nm of torque.
With acceleration from 0-50 km/hr in 3.9 seconds, its top speed is constrained to 130 km/hr.
With a 36.8 kWh battery and WLTP range of 260 km, the maximum charging rate will be 40 kW via Combo CCS socket, able to charge within 1 hour to 80 per cent, or in 4 hours at a 7.2 kW rate.
Production of the electric Seat Mii will start in the autumn of 2019, at Seat’s Bratislava factory, while pre-bookings are set to begin in September with an official launch slated for December.
So far a price has not been indicated, but it is thought it will come in at around €26,000 (about $A42,000 converted) – and with the Mii’s gasoline versions due to be removed from the market this European summer, the e-Mii then be the only version available by year’s end.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.