Volkswagen positioned the ID.3 hatchback as an electric alternative to the regular Golf. Motorists seeking a battery-powered substitute for the Golf R aren't out of luck, but they'll need to be patient.
The Wolfsburg-based firm isn't leaving its go-fast R division out of its broad electrification strategy. "If there is a future for R, it must be electric, it's very simple," explained Volkswagen board member Jurgen Stackmann in an interview with British magazine Autocar. It's far easier to electrify a humble hatchback like the ID.3 (pictured) than a usable, enthusiast-approved sports car like the Golf R, however.
Stackmann's team is in the process of defining the parameters R must stay within as it adopts electrification. Engineers already envision a hot-rodded ID.3 with four-wheel drive — likely from a pair of electric motors — and GTI-beating acceleration. Achieving that goal will require striking a delicate balance between performance and driving range, and the R-developed ID.3 might not arrive until 2024. In the meantime, Autocar learned that Volkswagen R will dabble in plug-in hybrids, notably with a gasoline-electric variant of the Touareg that's currently under development. It will continue fine-tuning the ID R race car that set several records in 2019, too.
The standard ID.3 will compete in the same segment as the Honda E that made its debut in production form during the Frankfurt show. The Japanese firm also uses the letter R to denote its sporty models, but one of its top executives said not to wait for a Type R-badged variant of the E.
"I see this is not the way to go with the E," opined Kohei Hitomi, the car's project leader, in a separate interview with Autocar. That doesn't mean we'll never see the Type R emblem on an electric car. Honda showed what its electric technology is capable of by unveiling a concept named Sports EV in 2017, and renderings leaked from a Japanese patent office suggest it's well on its way to production. We could hear more about it during the 2019 Tokyo auto show.