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First ID.3 production EVs will be ‘handed over’ to VW staff for ‘far-reaching QA’

Rumors continue to swirl about Volkswagen facing major software problems with its ID.3 electric car. Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper yesterday cited internal sources declaring the situation as an “absolute disaster.” But Volkswagen tells us that the launch schedule for Europe is “fixed” for this summer. And the first units rolling off the production line will be “handed over to Volkswagen plant staff for far-reaching quality assurance.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung reported yesterday that the first units will have digital functions that are “slimmed down,” but did not specify what would be lacking. We asked what might be missing, but the company did not directly address the issue (after our multiple attempts for specifics). Volkswagen AG responded:

Digital functions for market launch will be regularly and gradually supplemented and expanded in subsequent months.

Software will be installed in vehicles during production, and it will be updated to the most recent version prior to deliveries to our customers and also afterwards when there are updates available.

Volkswagen AG said that its “high-quality standards” were a “top priority.” So it’s taking the step of having plant staff drive and evaluate the first ID.3 units.

We decided that the first vehicles to come off the production line will be handed over to Volkswagen plant staff for far-reaching quality assurance as part of everyday testing. Our staff will therefore be providing us with crucial feedback about the ID.3’s performance – before we deliver to customers.

Pre-series production of the ID.3 at the Zwickau plant in September.

Pre-series production of the ID.3 at the Zwickau plant in September.

Regardless, the company confirms that the launch schedule for the ID.3 is firm. The compact EV, Volkswagen’s first to use its MEB all-electric architecture, will be sold in Europe but not the United States.

Volkswagen AG wrote:

The market launch will be in summer 2020. The production of the ID.3 1ST started (as scheduled) with only a few units and when we will be approaching the launch, production will be severely ramped up.

The next stage will be supplying vehicles for the pre-bookers. Our objective is to simultaneously deliver the 30,000 ID.3 1ST vehicles to customers in all pre-booking markets in Europe in time for the launch in summer 2020.

The ID.3 is will be offered with three different battery packs. The base version of the ID.3 electric car is expected to start under $33,000 (€30,000), but the first available units are expected to be a more expensive variant with up to 340 miles (550 km). The base version will arrive later with a 45-kWh battery pack, which VW says will enable “an electrically powered range of up to 330 kilometers as per WLTP.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that VW is struggling to get the necessary software expertise. And that it held a private meeting with Daimler to possibly develop a common operating system.

Volkswagen AG confirmed with Electrek that Martin Hofmann, who has served as VW’s chief information officer since 2011, will be leaving the company at the end of March.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.