Gearing up to fulfil its promise of a northern hemisphere summer launch of ID.3 electric hatchback, Volkswagen has announced it will open a series of specially branded “ID. stores” in Germany starting with a shopfront at the company’s “Transparent Factory” in Dresden.
The stores will follow the way of other pioneering electric vehicle makers – most notably of course Tesla, which does not have dealerships but instead showrooms. Likewise, Geely and Volvo’s Polestar will open “spaces”.
The goal of all these is to present a new way of engaging with electric mobility. By displaying electric vehicles as a desirable object rather than just another car in the sales lot.
Whereas Tesla’s approach is simple: focus on the car, and provide an online platform through which to pay for the car in the quickest, least annoying time possible. It’s an approach that seems to have worked.
Volkswagen is taking it up a notch. There will be a myriad of virtual and digital opportunities through which the potential customer can explore, interact and be seduced by the ID.3, the first of Volkswagen’s electric vehicles in the ID. series.
“With the start of the ID. The focus is on stores, especially visitor-intensive locations, where we present the topic of e-mobility to everyone,” says Holger B. Santel, head of sales and marketing in Germany for Volkswagen’s passenger cars.
However, Volkswagen is not decoupling the sales experience from its dealers, at least not for now. It first wants to create a new wave of customers for its dealers, and says it will open up online sales in the future.
In keeping with the “ID.” (note that dot) series branding, all stores names will end with the same dot. The next store to be opened will be in Munich in July – it will therefore be named “Munich.”, and so on.
Until the ID.3 is officially released and test drives are available, potential customers will be able to visit a “configuration desk” and then on to take a peak at what the vehicle would look like once manufactured.
When the ID.3 is released, some commentators say it will be a “radically downgraded” version of VW’s original ID.3 due to software issues that have been plaguing its production.
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.