Volkswagen ID.3 vs. Nissan LEAF & Hyundai Kona EV — Range & Price Comparisons

Credit to Author: Zachary Shahan| Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2019 06:05:17 +0000

Published on September 11th, 2019 | by Zachary Shahan

September 11th, 2019 by  

We still don’t have much info on the Volkswagen ID.3, but we have a little bit to go on regarding price and range.

The base version of the ID.3 is supposed to be under €30,000. I’m assuming that means just under, so will round up to €30,000.

The “up to” (idealistic) WLTP range on that trim is 330 km (205 miles) — definitely not real-world range, but the WLTP rating system is what EU regulators have for some reason considered acceptable. Real-world range may be more like 230–280 km (140–175 miles).

At this point, range is still a major factor in the value of an electric vehicle — 230–280 km only works well for certain people or use cases. So, it’s logical to look at how the ID.3 range and price compare to some other major EV models. Classes and designs are different, but I could see consumers cross shopping the ID.3, Nissan LEAF, Hyundai Kona EV, and Kia Niro EV. The big problem with the latter two (which basically have the same specs) is that they are very hard to get — the waiting lists are really long. Nonetheless, so is the ID.3 till next year sometime (hopefully), so I pulled the Kona EV into this comparison as well.

The LEAF starts at €36,800 in Germany, or €32,159 after subsidies. The ID.3’s price is reportedly pre-subsidy, so the former number is what matters for comparison here. The LEAF’s “up to” range is 270 km. This is a big difference in range for the money. Even if it’s post-subsidy, the ID.3 performs notably better. The ID.3 is at €91/km of range. A €36,800 LEAF is at €136/km of range. The ID.3 is clearly winning there by a wide margin.

There are a couple of key takeaways from this:

Who will the ID.3 mostly take buyers from? Perhaps would-be gasoline or diesel VW buyers.

The base Kona EV has “up to” 289 km of range (same for Niro EV), a bit in between the ID.3 and LEAF. It comes in at a price of €34,400. That’s €119/km of range. It performs better in this category than the LEAF, but still well below the ID.3. Again, the ID.3 is both cheaper and offers more range.

So, yes, the ID.3 is a notable step forward in the small electric hatchback market.

Of course, those calculations are assuming “all things being equal,” which they aren’t. However, it’s not apparent to me which car an objective buyer should prefer if price and range were the same. I think it largely comes down to styling, brand, and tech at that point, without dramatic variation between them on these points.

As a reminder, the Tesla Model 3 is well outside of this price range. Its base price in Germany is €43,390 in Germany. You do get a more premium interior for that and Tesla’s signature Autopilot hardware and software. The car is also larger. And you have access to Tesla’s Supercharger network, infotainment system, and ongoing over-the-air updates. Nonetheless, as everyone knows, many people cannot afford a €43,390 car but can afford a €30,000 car. Or a family may want one of each. I don’t think a lot of people would be cross-shopping the Model 3 and ID.3. I may be wrong, but I think the ID.3 is genuinely much more of a competitor for “comparable” gas/diesel vehicles and the electric offerings noted above. In all of those comparisons, the ID.3 lines up very well. Though, it’s unclear if a very large number of Europeans will consider the base range adequate.

The biggest lingering question is Volkswagen’s production capacity. Some say it will be 100,000+ in 2020, some claim it will be more like 30,000 and the car is only meant to meet EU regulations for CO2 emissions. We’ll see. That said, Volkswagen is clearly very heavily promoting the car. For example, going to the company’s home page for Germany, this is the top portion of the page:

The VW Golf starts at €21,415 in Germany, and the Polo (not the same class/quality) starts at €14,285, but it shouldn’t take consumers too long to learn that massive fuel savings can chop down the difference in cost. The ID.3 looks very competitive with the Golf in that regard, as long as you can afford the monthly financing. Take into account resale value in 5 years and I think the ID.3 will be a solid winner, but that’s all speculation, so I’ll leave that out of the comparison (for now).

There’s one notable electric vehicle I didn’t mention in this comparison. It’s smaller but it has relatively long range as well and is the top selling EV in Germany and often all across Europe. That’s the Renault Zoe, of course. We’ll be sure to run some comparisons between these two soon, especially once Renault unleashes the new version of the frequent gold medal holder next month. 

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Zach is tryin’ to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He’s also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don’t jump to conclusions.