What moved you most in the course of the development work for the ID.3?
We are taking responsibility for the climate and creating an affordable zero-emission vehicle – suitable for everyday use – for and with the current and future generations. And we are consciously doing this in the compact class, the segment that Volkswagen invented with the Golf and shaped like no other manufacturer. After all, e-mobility must come out of its niche and be more than just a hope for the future. We are showing that emission-free mobility is possible for everyone and can even be really fun. Here we can use our strength and skill for something worthwhile and important.
At what point did you notice that electric mobility was on the verge of the breakthrough that would make it accessible to everybody?
Four years ago, we took a really big and new approach to e-mobility as a platform with scale effects and with a price point similar to today’s standard cars. When the concept started coming together from all the different departments and it became clear that the charisma and driving experience would make the ID.3 a fantastic car for the price of a Golf, I got goosebumps for the first time and thought to myself: that’s the way! A brilliant electric vehicle for the millions rather than the millionaires. Perfectly Volkswagen, as is fitting.
In detail, which technology do you find most fascinating on the new ID.3?
The ID.3 simply offers a fascinating driving experience. This is how the future feels! I just can’t get enough of its ‘punch’ when accelerating away from traffic lights – it gives me butterflies in my stomach. And electric cars are so much more calming on longer journeys. The ride is different – quieter as well as more constant, automated and efficient – which means that the occupants arrive feeling more relaxed! This is the new luxury. This is precisely what ‘New Volkswagen’ is supporting with its new sound and light design. And that’s not all: cars will continue to blend into our lives more naturally. The ID.3 has a personality, eyes – a face. It shows you that it is happy and full of energy when you approach it each morning. And of course you can talk to it – and it will respond via ID. Light – to you or the passenger.
What was the biggest challenge you faced over the course of the project?
Many people have big barriers and prejudices in their minds. In the past, electric cars were more expensive, the range was insufficient and the charging infrastructure was an adventure. Part of my job involves breaking down such prejudices and making as many people as possible aware that ‘now you can!’ E-mobility will now also work for you – give it a try!
We initiated the communication measures early on, because it takes time to bring about such a systematic change. We have taken a constant approach to our statements and our strategy. Our partners should be able to rely on us. We have already done a great deal of educational work with the communication measures on our website www.volkswagen.de/id, from which e-mobility as a whole will benefit.
And we are also breaking new ground by having direct contact with the customer for the first time as a manufacturer via pre-booking. We are much closer to the customer and that is a good thing. We are learning a great deal in the process.
What will you take personally from the project?
This has been a very special time for me. The ID.3 is my baby and my entire team feels the same way. Many of us have been on board since 2016; we were in Oslo, where it became very clear: ‘They think electric here; it works with the right cars and underlying conditions.’ Things then really took off here in Wolfsburg. We wanted to create the first carbon-neutral electric car for everyone. The more importers and dealers we involved, the stronger the draw became. For me personally, it is overwhelming to see that we are heading towards a new era in climate-friendly mobility – from the production to the product itself.
I will also take away the effectiveness produced by inner conviction, a willingness to take on responsibility and an approach to management that allows people to get things done. That is really enjoyable.
The ID.3 and Golf Mk VIII appear in the same vehicle class. Do you see a rivalry?
No. They are two avant-gardists in one class. The Golf Mk VIII and the ID.3 perfectly complement one another: The Golf Mk VIII is a benchmark in the compact segment; the ID.3 will attract people to e-mobility. I am certain that Volkswagen is extending its leading role in the compact segment with both vehicles. Combustion engines and electric motors will continue to exist side by side; the transformation will not happen overnight. The era of emission-free mobility is now dawning. And this new category bears the name ID.