VW unveils second-gen ID.3 EV and an app store for its cars
Software upgrades may be more important than the new hardware.
The ID.3 isn't even three years old, but that isn't stopping Volkswagen from giving its well-known EV a makeover. After months of teasers, the company has introduced a second-generation ID.3 that addresses criticisms of the first model. The new compact car offers a "sharper" design with improved aerodynamics and a higher-quality (and heavily recycled) interior. More importantly, VW has upgraded the technology — including its software, which garnered a long list of complaints from drivers.
The second-gen ID.3 includes the "latest software," with a simpler layout, better performance and over-the-air updates. The 12-inch infotainment display is now standard. You also have access to a Travel Assist feature that uses "swarm" data to aid driving — the crowdsourced info can keep you in your lane on a backroad even if there's just one known lane marking. Charging should be easier, too, between an automatic charge start (at compatible stations) and a route planner that factors in the availability and capacity of stations along the way. Your car won't direct you to a busy station with slow chargers.
Don't expect huge changes in performance. The new ID.3 uses the same 201HP motor system and battery options as before. That nets up to 265 miles of range (using the WLTP testing method) with the base 58kWh battery and 339 miles with the 77kWh pack. Those are still very healthy figures for an EV this size, however, and VW has teased a smaller battery for those who only need a commuter car.
Production is slated to start in fall 2023. VW hasn't outlined pricing or country-by-country availability, but we wouldn't count on this reaching the US. Like the original ID.3, the revamp is aimed primarily at European customers where North America gets larger vehicles like the ID.4 crossover and upcoming ID.Buzz.
Even larger software improvements are in store, regardless of where you live. VW's Cariad unit has unveiled an app store (pictured at middle) for the automaker's brands, including Audi and Porsche. The platform will help third parties bring apps to a wide range of cars with relatively little fuss, including over-the-air-updates. Major early partners tend to be driving-oriented services like Spotify, TuneIn, The Weather Channel and Plugshare. However, you'll also find TikTok, Cisco's Webex meeting app and even Vivaldi's web browser.
The app store debuts in several Audi models (including EVs like the E-Tron GT and Q8 E-Tron) this summer for European and North American customers. More models and VW brands are coming later. Don't expect to upgrade your existing ride, though, as VW cautions that the shop will only be available in cars produced from summer onward.