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First peek at VW ID.3 EV owner’s manual reveals cool list of digital features

A German YouTuber got his hands on a VIN for the upcoming ID.3 electric car and used it to access VW’s online manual. He discovered a set of high-tech features not commonly found on a small, affordable EVs. They’re not groundbreaking, but you can see that VW wants to make its EV a high-tech showcase.

The 15-minute run-through of feature highlights in the online manual is provided by “Chris from Bavaria,” who runs Battery Life, the EV-focused YouTube channel.

We keep hearing about potential delays for the first deliveries of the ID.3 in Europe due to software issues. Volkswagen told us in late March:

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.

Before this video, we didn’t have many details about those digital functions, except a video of the ID.3’s head-up display. And the highlight video is short. But we get a glimpse into what Volkswagen’s other ID electric cars, like the ID.4 SUV coming to the US, might offer.

Chris likes the very visible display of EV range but laments that an explicit percentage number — rather than a white/yellow/red bar graph and a guess at the remaining kilometers or miles. The percentage is apparently not offered unless things get desperate when the state-of-charge drops into single digits.

VW ID.3 owner's manual

The VW ID.3 provides the percent of SOC during charging, as well as charging controls that are pretty much standard EV fare but still useful:

  • The ability to set the charging limit to anywhere between 50% and 100%
  • When a charging session is finished, you can set the charging connector to automatically release or not
  • You can reduce the current for a home-charging event, for example, to allow another electric device to pull power from the same current
  • If you have the charger on a timer control, you can set the lower battery charge limit to hit at a specified hour

VW ID.3 owner's manual

The ID.3 is built on the MEB platform, which supports up to 125kW charging using CCS. That’s a reasonably fast rate. But if you get bored when waiting for the electrons, you can use the ID.3’s Video Mode, which might be similar to Tesla Theater mode.

The manual reads:

In video mode, the infotainment system display can play a video from a data medium, from internal memory or a streaming service. The video audio is relayed via the vehicle loudspeakers.

The video image is displayed only when the vehicle is stationary. When the vehicle is in motion, the infotainment display is switched off. The video audio can continue to be heard.

There are typical EV driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual. An Eco-assist feature, apparently built into the head-up display, that nags you to “Take your foot off the accelerator,” to save energy.


That feature does other things without telling you. Other EVs have a similar function in which forward-looking radar starts to apply regen braking when it detects a car slowing down in front of you:

When the system is active, Eco Assistant can also increase brake energy recuperation without displaying a message. This may be the case if you take your foot off the accelerator when there is a vehicle in front, for example. Here, brake energy recuperation is adapted to the vehicle in from without any message being displayed.

If you’re using Adaptive Cruise Control on the open highway, and the car in front of you is going slower than your set speed, you can use the “Auto Lane Changing Option.” The ID.3 will wait for an open lane and bypass the slowpoke to achieve the desired speed. Tesla’s AutoPilot does the same thing.

The manual advises:

Auto lane changing is available only on multi-lane motors that are including the navigation data of the infotainment system and from a speed around 55 mph.

If adaptive cruise control detects posted speed limits and you’re going too fast, the car can adjust your speed. There is a robust set of self-parking features as well.

There aren’t any details about a “We Upgrade” feature shown in the owner’s manual. But it appears that you will be able to buy additional digital features via the dashboard.

There is a wide array of automated lighting features like cornering lights, auto high beams, a coming-home lighting function, and a headlight washing feature.

A few technical specs and limitations are revealed:

  • No roof carrier is available “for technical reasons”
  • The ID.3 is not approved for towing a trailer
  • The compact EV’s ground clearance is 150 mm (5.9 inches)

Check out all the details in the video:

Electrek’s Take

None of the features are completely novel, although depending on trim levels and packages, they would be impressive if offered near the base price of about $33,000.

It would be a big deal if some of them were missing. But that does not appear to be the case, which is a good sign for VW (if they can resolve the current software issues).

We expect more details to leak out as Volkswagen gets closer to its first deliveries of the ID.3 this summer.

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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.