VW Starts Production of Tesla Model 3 Rival

volkswagen id7 sedan sits at the end of the assembly line with workers standing around it
VW Starts Production of Tesla Model 3 RivalCarsten Heidmann
  • The first production examples of the 2024 Volkswagen ID.7 sedan roll off the assembly line in Emden, Germany.

  • The midsize electric sedan will be offered with a choice of two batteries and two motor layouts, with a top range of 435 miles in the WLTP cycle.

  • Volkswagen intends to challenge the aging Tesla Model 3 directly, just as other competitors begin arriving in this segment.

Even today the Tesla Model 3 has just a handful of competitors around the globe, and some of them aren't even offered in North America.

But starting this month, the longtime Tesla best seller will see one of its first real competitors in Europe and the US, after Volkswagen has begun production of the ID.7 sedan in Emden, Germany.


Revealed earlier this year, the ID.7 will offer a spacious cabin with room to stretch out, along with a rather conservative exterior design that will be familiar to those who've become accustomed to the ID.4.

The new midsize sedan, featuring an overall length of 195.3 inches, will seek to play the role of an electric Passat, offering a choice of two batteries and single- or dual-motor layouts.

The smaller battery in the lineup will be a 77-kWh (82-kWh gross) unit, good for a range of approximately 382 miles in the WLTP cycle. Buyers will also be able to opt for a larger battery with a capacity of 86 kWh (91 kWh gross), which in Europe will be able to travel 435 miles, or 700 kilometers, once again according to the WLTP cycle.

That's a new battery for the MEB lineup, and it's meant to give the ID.7 an advantage in long-distance cruising.

One aspect of the production launch of the ID.7 that may surprise some longtime EV watchers is the fact that the more expensive dual-motor version won't be the one that will be produced first. Instead, VW will focus on building the single-motor, rear-wheel drive version early on, with 282 hp and 402 lb-ft of torque on tap, courtesy of a new APP550 electric motor.

And even in single-motor form the ID.7 will offer quite a bit more power than a single-motor ID.4, which produces 201 hp.

volkswagen id7 sedan sits inside a factory in emden as the first cars roll off the assembly line
The ID.7 is aimed at comfortable long-distance travel, with VW seeking to offer strong competition to the Tesla Model 3.Carsten Heidmann

"The market launch of the ID.7 is another important milestone on the way to the electric future of our brand," said Thomas Schäfer, Volkswagen brand CEO. "As a group and brand, we are investing heavily in technology, new products and the transformation of our locations, such as here in Emden."

Still, even when the ID.7 arrives stateside, the midsize electric sedan segment won't be too crowded. The Model 3 has proven to be a popular seller even after six years of production, while the avant-garde Hyundai Ioniq 6 is just getting started when it comes to sales.

The BMW i4, if we're being strict here, is positioned a bit further upmarket, so we can't really put it in the exact same segment as the first two EVs we've mentioned.

The Polestar 2, on the other hand, is by all means a Model 3 fighter, but for the moment its sales are still dwarfed by Tesla.

The Volkswagen ID.7, therefore, will seek to steal a slice of the non-luxury midsize EV sedan segment, with the helpful absence of Japanese players in this narrow category.

"With the ID.7, we now have a mid-size car that also meets upscale demands and will find many friends. For the Emden site, the ID.7 is another step towards the future," Stephan Weil, First Minister of the German state of Lower Saxony, said during the sedan's production launch.

The model's price and EPA numbers will be revealed closer to the start of US sales in early 2024, but we should have a good idea regarding pricing when it arrives on sale in Europe this fall.