Volkswagen ID EV hopes to undercut Tesla Model 3 by up to $8,000

The automaker's chief strategist is optimistic about the ID's cost, but we're still years away from it becoming reality.

Ingo Barenschee

As electric vehicles get larger batteries and longer ranges, costs will slowly start coming down. Volkswagen thinks its first long-range EV will be able to absolutely trounce the Tesla Model 3 on price.

When Volkswagen's ID concept makes its way to dealerships, it could cost up to $8,000 less than the Tesla Model 3, VW's Chief of Corporate Strategy Thomas Sedran said in an interview with German site Automobil Produktion. If the Tesla Model 3's starting price hovers around $35,000, that means a comparable Volkswagen EV could be as inexpensive as $27,000 -- and that's before any sort of incentives are applied.

The ID concept is about the same size as a Golf -- on the outside. Inside, it's a bit roomier.

Volkswagen

VW has not shied away from talking smack about Tesla's aspirations. Back in May, brand chief Herbert Diess claimed that Volkswagen could beat Tesla as its own game. While the Model 3 will be the first inexpensive Tesla, Volkswagen's been building inexpensive cars for years, and it has experience building vehicles at enormous volume. 

Sedran's belief hangs on one factor that's outside of Volkswagen's control -- battery prices. Part of its hope to undercut the Tesla relies on a reduction in lithium-ion battery costs, from between 150 and 200 euros per kilowatt-hour to less than 100 euros (about $115).

Any actual price comparison is still years away, though. Volkswagen's plan to bring dozens of new EVs to market across its many brands has yet to kick off in earnest. That said, it already has a new platform just for electric cars, and it's already shown off several different vehicles based off that platform, including the Golf-like ID, the ID Buzz microbus and the ID Crozz crossover.

The Model 3 marks Tesla's first foray into the proper automotive mainstream. The first production Model 3 rolled off the line in early July, and it'll take months to ramp production up to Tesla's expectations. By the time Volkswagen's ID concept moves from concept to production, Tesla will have a few years of manufacturing experience under its belt.

There's a lot we don't know, however, about the Model 3. Tesla still has not given the vehicle an official pricing structure, nor do we know any specifications -- range, acceleration, interior dimensions, you name it. Hell, we're not even sure what the inside looks like yet. 

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