Confirmed: Volkswagen evaluating electric ID.3 for NZ market

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Words: Matthew Hansen
13 Apr 2021

While Volkswagen’s local arm was very quick to confirm that it would be a taker for the marque’s ID.4 fully electric SUV, the smaller ID.3 hatch that started it all has always been a bit of an enigma.

Supply concerns are reportedly the main element preventing the ID.3 from being immediately added to Volkswagen New Zealand’s roster of future releases. While the brand continues to be synonymous with hatchbacks despite the segment’s decline (having just launched the Mk8 Golf), the ID.3 has merely been a model that’s been “in discussion”.

That might soon be changing, though. Two ID.3 hatches were spotted at the marque’s European Motor Distributors premises earlier this week, prompting questions about whether the distributor had acquired some for local evaluation.

In a statement to NZ Autocar, a Volkswagen New Zealand spokesperson confirmed that the model was under evaluation, presumably with the hopes of being added to the local line-up.

“We’re working very closely with our product team in Germany on a roadmap for electric vehicles in New Zealand and this is still a work in progress,” the spokesperson said. “In the meantime, we have had an opportunity to evaluate two ID.3 units to test for our market.”

A new model being evaluated by a local distributor isn’t necessarily a guarantee that the same model will be released here formally. However, it’s usually a positive sign of a distributor’s intent to bring the model in.

Entry-level ID.3s overseas are rated for 330km of travel on the WLTP cycle with their 45kWh battery. Mid-spec 58kWh models are rated for 450km and flagship 77kWh models are rated for 550km, respectively.

You would think that, should it go on sale here, the pint-sized ID.3 could stand a good chance to become the country’s cheapest electric car. However, its UK pricing starts at £29,990, or around $58,000 in Kiwi currency. That’s almost $10,000 more than the country’s current cheapest EV; the $48,990 MG ZS EV.

What’s curious is that Seat’s version of the ID.3, the El Born, was confirmed for Kiwi sale way back in 2019 when the model first broke cover. Built alongside the ID.3, the El Born is tipped for European release towards the end of this year.

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