Volkswagen has begun work on an all-new electric SUV based on the popular ID 3 hatchback that is on sale overseas. This new SUV, according to the carmaker, will be aimed at capitalising on the still fast-growing small SUV market globally.

  • Volkswagen ID 3-based SUV will have unique styling
  • Entry-level EV could be called the VW ID1
  • MEB platform will be replaced by SSP in future

VW ID 3-based EV SUV: design and platform

CEO Thomas Schafer has confirmed to our sister publication Autocar’s that VW is “working hard to develop an additional compact SUV based on the ID 3 so that we can launch a Volkswagen product in this fast-growing vehicle segment”. This new SUV would look dramatically different to the ID 3 when it arrives before it, in future, rather than being an styling approach.

The Volkswagen ID 4 is currently the smallest electric SUV, sharing the MEB platform with the ID 3, but its footprint is significantly bigger than its hatchback counterpart.

Two more entry-level VW EVs planned

Volkswagen will also introduce two versions of its anticipated entry-level EV, described as “a small car and a sporty crossover variant” by Schafer. They will be in a similar, albeit electric, vein to the combustion-engined current-gen Volkswagen Polo – likely to be called the VW ID 1 – and Volkswagen T-Cross SUV, which is sold overseas.

These are among 10 new EVs, including facelifts of current models, by which, Schafer claims, VW will have the broadest electric portfolio in the automotive industry. With these two new EVs and the upcoming ID 7 Aero EV sedan, the marque plans to have a product in almost every segment.

Meanwhile, the MEB platform will bow out later this decade and will be replaced by a new architecture called SSP (scalable systems platform), on which all volume-selling Volkswagen Group models will be based.

VW EV plans

Volkswagen has begun testing the ID 4 EV SUV  and is expected to announce pricing for the same sometime next year.

While the ID.3 may resemble an updated Golf from the outside, VW says it will be far roomier on the inside. By removing the internal combustion engine, placing the electric motor right on the rear axle, and putting the batteries in the vehicle’s floor, the automaker is able to extend the cabin forward, thus freeing up previously inaccessible space to the company’s designers. 

The result should be a car that’s compact in profile, but feels more comfortable to ride in, and also has more storage than a vehicle of this size. Extra space is a common promise when it comes to EVs, but it may matter even more in a car like the ID.3, which will cost less than almost any other all-electric on the market. VW is likely to hammer on this point as it ramps up to the release of the car.

Inside that more spacious cabin, drivers and passengers will find an interior that is more tech than what VW currently offers.. The central focus is a new 10-inch touchscreen that sits in the middle of the ID.3’s dashboard. But VW has also opted to rely on touch-sensitive buttons throughout the cabin. In fact, the only things that are controlled through the buttons, VW says, are the windows and the hazard lights.

Some other tech touches include an optional heads-up display that projects information onto the ID.3’s windshield, and voice-activated controls that can be saying “Hello ID.” There’s a wireless charging mat for smartphones, and get can upgrade to a stereo package, which VW says “offers an audio atmosphere like at a live concert.”

The ID.3 can also be equipped with keyless entry, and the car’s LED matrix headlights will even “flutter” a set of “eyelids” when the owner approaches, a feature that VW says gives the car a “friendly” and “human” touch.

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