The first Volkswagen ID.3 electric hatch has landed in Australia, it was revealed on Friday in a posting to the Canberra Electric Vehicles group on Facebook.
However, this doesn’t mean it is now available for general sale in Australia, as it hasn’t been brought into Australia by Volkswagen Australia.
Volkswagen’s Australian arm has made it clear that it will prioritise its ID series for markets with clear, supportive regulatory and policy environments geared at accelerating EV uptake. And Australia does not yet fit that bill.
VW has appealed for a nationally consistent approach to electric vehicles, calling for other states to follow NSW’s EV proposal, which currently is waiting to be passed when parliament sits again and includes a $3,000 rebate and stamp duty waivers, as well as a delay on the electric vehicle tax.
It notes that on current policy settings, Australia risks becoming a dumping ground for dirty vehicles.
The ID.4 is likely to be the first electric vehicle under the Volkswagen badge that makes it to Australian dealer floors, although it will be preceded by the Cupra Born at the end of 2022.
Which brings us back to the little grey ID.3 patiently waiting in Canberra. It is understood the vehicle, which has been imported by IonDNA as the photo shows, was imported for a private customer and at no trivial cost.
It has been imported under the “Special and Enthusiast Vehicle” rules which allow so-called “grey importers” like IonDNA to bring in models that have not been introduced by carmakers within three months of their global launches.
Another photo supplied to The Driven shows the vehicle sitting alongside a Honda e, also brought in as a grey import.
Importing vehicles this way is no simple matter, as it generally entails a number of compliance tasks (although they are less stringent than if the vehicle were brought in commercially by the carmaker), and must pass these to be included on the SEVs list.
It is understood that on occasion this process can take time and carmakers have in the meantime slated the vehicle for sale, thereby rendering the import invalid.
Regardless of whether it is a grey import or a commercially available vehicle, its presence in Australia is certainly another sign that interest in electric vehicles is ramping up locally.
The VW ID.3 is available in the UK from £30,935 ($A57,329) in the base trim, up to £37,745.00 ($A69,949) for the Max trim, with a 58kWh battery that offers around 420km driving range.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.