Volkswagen rumored to lose more than $3,000 on each ID. hatchback sold

Put in context, however, that's really not bad

VW I.D. test mules
VW I.D. test mules / Image Credit: Volkswagen AG
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Volkswagen will open pre-orders for the ID. hatchback, the first offering in the ID. range, on May 8. We won't get a look at the final design until September, however, when the ID. takes center stage at the Frankfurt Motor Show. There will be three tiers of battery capacity and range, the least being a 48-kWh battery with a range of about 200 miles on the WLTP cycle. German magazine Auto Motor & Sport expects the price for that base model to be about 29,990 euros before any EV purchase incentives. The mag also figures VW will lose 3,000 euros on each car sold.

At the current exchange rate, that's $3,348 per car. It's a substantial number considering how many ID hatchbacks Volkswagen wants to sell, and how many other EVs will quickly follow, all of which we assume will bring some red with them. However, in context of reports over the past two years, it's a sign things are looking up. Or less down.

In November 2016, The Detroit News reported that General Motors could lose as much as $9,000 on every Bolt sold to customers. In October 2017, the late Sergio Marchionne said Fiat loses as much as $20,000 on each Fiat 500e the carmaker sells. In January 2018 Moody's estimated that automakers lose from $7,000 to $10,000 for every EV they sell. In October 2018 Alix Partners figured EVs cost almost $9,000 more to produce than conventional vehicles. Last week, Moody's said EVs "often cost $12,000 more to produce" than traditional cars. These numbers remain fluid conjecture because EV R&D budgets run well into the billions, and will grow. VW and Daimler have set aside a combined $35 billion for EV investment for the time being, and both have said "it would not be enough."

So for all that, if Auto Motor & Sport is correct, $3,348 per car isn't so bad. And every automaker in the game says red ink on the electric side will continue until at least the middle of the next decade.

Back to the practical matters of the ID. hatch, we're told VW won't sell the 48-kWh version first. The order books will open for the mid-tier model with a 62-kWh battery and a range of about 342 miles on the WLTP cycle. That will be the Launch Edition, thought to cost at least 35,000 euros before incentives. It will eventually be joined by the more frugal car below, and a "premium" trim with something like 373 miles of range from a battery of roughly 80-kWh. They'll all get a top speed limited to 112 miles per hour, have either 7.2-kW or 11- kW on-board chargers, and 125-kW DC fast-charging capability.

Reviews of ID. hatch development cars so far have come in on the high side, TopGear going so far as to write, "Even from this prototype, it's clear that in most significant ways it'll be a nicer prospect than the Golf."

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