Volkswagen's New ID.3 Electric Car Given Low Marks by German Auto Test Publication

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【Summary】Germany’s leading automotive test publication Auto Motor und Sport​ wrote that Volkswagen's ID.3, the company's first mass market electric car, falls short in some key areas after testing a pre production model. Although the publication praised the ID.3’s ride characteristics and powertrain, it wrote that the ID.3 needs considerable improvements in other areas.

Eric Walz    Sep 09, 2020 11:50 AM PT
Volkswagen's New ID.3 Electric Car Given Low Marks by German Auto Test Publication
The Volkswagen ID.3 is the automaker's first fully-electric car.

Volkswagen's ID.3 hatchback is the German automaker's first mass market electric car. It's also the first of many new electric models that Volkswagen plans to introduce in the next over the next five years and represents the future of the company.

However, according to Germany's leading automotive test publication Auto Motor und Sport, the electric ID.3 falls short in some key areas after testing a pre production model in this week's edition of the publication.

Although the publication praised the ID.3's ride characteristics, it wrote that the ID.3 needs considerable improvement in the processing and electronics. In addition, Auto Motor und Sport said the car does not meet VW's high standards for the fit and finish of the body parts, including large, uneven panel gaps and the lack of high quality materials and details, given that the list price of the ID.3 is 49,000 euros (US$57,800) before incentives for purchasing a zero emissions vehicle.

"The inner side of the hood looks like it was painted with a spray can," the publication said, highlighting the absence of Volkswagen's trademark build quality. In addition to the paint issues, the German auto publication reported other problems. 

Auto Motor und Sport also said the ID.3's infotainment system takes too long to power up and stated that the navigation system fails to work at times. The publications also pointed out that the 10-inch infotainment screen is positioned too far away from the driver, making it somewhat difficult to operate. Other issues were voice controls not working properly or quickly enough. 

However the ID.3 received high marks for its handling and electric powertrain. The publication wrote that the powertrain and chassis "work perfectly", saying that the natural and agile handling of the compact car is one of the strengths of the ID.3.

The range of the EV also fell short of expectations. During testing, the operating range was only 223 miles (359 kilometers), the publication said.

Some of the ID.3's quality problems may be the result of production setbacks. Volkswagen's labor chief criticized the automaker's electric car program for falling behind schedule. However in March VW rejected that criticism, but also admitted that the car needed last minute improvements.

EV Pioneer Tesla Had its Own Share of Quality Issues Too

To be fair, electric vehicle pioneer Tesla also had its share of quality problems when the Model S, Model X SUV, Model Y and Model 3 sedan were launched, but the California company made improvements to subsequent models and has since become the world's most valuable automaker.

Some of Tesla's more well known problems were gullwing doors that failed to close properly on the Model X, loose body trim on all models, glass defects, electrical problems, squeaks and rattling noises, as well as water leaks. 

Despite Tesla's quality problems, most owners are generally satisfied with their new Teslas, even though the automaker placed dead last in J.D. Power's 2020 Initial Quality Study released in June. 

Tesla owners reported more problems in their first 90 days of ownership than the other 31 U.S. auto brands included in the study. Dodge and Kia topped the list with the fewest number of problems reported. 

Still, many automakers developing their own electric models look to segment leader Tesla for inspiration. Volkswagen Group head Herbert Diess said the Tesla's new Model Y crossover was a "reference car" for the automaker and praised the vehicle.

"This car is for us in many aspects (not in all!) a reference: user experience, updatability, driving features, performance of the top of the range models, charging network, range," Diess said last week after meeting with Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk in Germany.

Musk himself was not as critical of the ID.3 as Germany's leading auto test publication after Diess took him on a personal test drive. 

"I think for a non-sporty car it's pretty good," Musk said in a video on the Volkswagen Group's Twitter account. 

Like Tesla, VW will have plenty of opportunities to fix what's needed as the automaker electrifies its future model lineup. The company plans to build 1.5 million electric cars by 2025. 

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