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New Volkswagen ID.3 R electric hot hatch considered

John McIlroy 2019-09-10 17:41

Volkswagen could expand on the new ID.3 electric car with a high performance R version, according to boss.

Volkswagen is “actively considering” a high-performance variant of the ID.3, according to a senior figure who has brought the original concept to production.

The ID.3 is being launched with up to 201bhp from a single rear-mounted electric motor. But Christine Leuderalbert, VW’s e-mobility product marketing specialist, says the firm is working on how to turn a car engineered for efficiency into one designed for driver thrills.

“We’re actively considering it, but we need to do some work on how an electric car can also be a performance car,” Leuderalbert told Auto Express. “We know electric vehicles have excellent acceleration, but we need to look at how the rest of the package would affect the car’s efficiency.”

VW electric supermini range due in 2023

Our exclusive image shows how an ID.3 R could look with the largest 21-inch wheels that the ID.3’s chassis can accommodate. It’s considered likely that the company could turn the car into an electric hot hatch by adding a small electric front motor – making it four-wheel drive, the most common transmission type for VW R models. Such a move would also allow VW to harness the marketing power of the ID.R racer that has set records at Goodwood and the Nordschleife.

Jurgen Stackmann, VW’s Member of the Board of Management for sales and marketing, said that the performance sub-brand will have to focus on electrification in any case. “If there is a future for R, it must be electric,” he said. “It’s very simple. We’re really thinking what to do with these cars, because if you’re on the way to zero emissions it’s hard to imagine that you load the world with more powerful cars.

“So we have to work to put those on the road but clearly the future of R must be electric and [R boss] Jost Capito’s job is to find a solution for that. We need to define what is R in the electric world; it’s different to what we know of in a Golf or any other car.

New Volkswagen ID.3 revealed

“First will come plug-in hybrid, which is already coming with Touareg. That’s something where we have the answer. For the rest we need to find smart, sustainable answers. The plan is filled with great R models going forward but you have to accept that after this, you just can’t plough on. You’d look at us and ask what we are doing here. We have to find good answers for that and that work is happening now.

When pressed on a date for a pure-electric R model, Stackmann said, “We should be able to deliver something meaningful in under five years. But it’s turf without a lot of expertise for us, at the moment, so we have to start that journey.”

Get all the news from the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show here…

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