For Tesla's middle-market offering, the Model 3, Volkswagen's interest in electric automobiles could spell big trouble. According to recent reports, the German car maker has invested a staggering $34 billion into disrupting Tesla's place at the top of the electric car market.
Volkswagen's electric hatchback, the ID.3 1st, has captured tremendous consumer interest. According to a report from USA Today, Volkwagen reported there were 10,000 pre-orders made within just the first 24 hours of open pre-ordering. At just €1,000, the initial deposits are fairly affordable.
Even so, VW admits that the sheer volume of interest has fully surpassed their expectations. "Customers’ interest in the special edition, the ID.3 1ST, which is limited to 30,000 vehicles, is significantly exceeding the brand’s expectations," a spokesperson states.
While some of the ID.3's details are being kept under wraps, VW says the car will be priced under €30,000, or about $33,500.
Volkswagen says that the ID.3 is "the third major chapter of strategic importance," following in the steps of its hatchback predecessors, the Beetle and the Golf.
The company also says that ID "stands for intelligent design, identity and visionary technologies."
The ID.3 1ST will be the first generation of the car-maker's 5-door electric hatchback. The first series will be limited to just 30,000 vehicles. USA Today reports that the ID.3 1ST will come with three battery options, as well as long-range 62-kilowatt-hour battery pack and 2,000 kilowatt hours of free public charging at fast-charging stations around Europe. The first cars will be delivered in Europe some time next year.
For now, the ID.3 1ST will only be available in Europe, and VW says there are no plans to bring the 5-door hatchback over to the states. However, other ID models will be launched in the United States in 2020. The first ID we'll see in the states will be a compact crossover.
Given the overwhelming response to Volkswagen's new line of electric vehicles (which are only available for pre-order), it is no surprise that many are wondering if the German car maker will successfully oust Tesla from the top of the electric car food chain.
Concerns about the future of Tesla are especially high in the wake of numerous controversies involving the company and their cars. Glitches with Tesla autopilot systems have garnered a substantial amount of attention. In early 2019, one driver found that their Tesla autopilot "got confused" by highway markings, causing the car to run off the road. During the crash, the driver said they tried to regain control of the car and slam on the brakes, but the car prevented him from seizing control.
Tesla owners say that getting repair work done on their cars is virtually impossible after the car's warranty has expired. Diagnostic tools and parts are hard to come by -- and few mechanics have experience working on Teslas, making them a challenge to own long-term. Tesla has also been caught shorting the battery life on their cars and manually controlling output from their headquarters, and has also been called out for failing to give refunds to consumers in a timely manner.
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