Volkswagen will use the Frankfurt auto show to take a giant step into the unknown with the launch of the ID.3, the first car on its mass-market electric vehicle platform.
VW has cleared the decks for the event, which starts Sept. 10, even delaying the reveal of the redesigned Golf as part of its $33 billion gamble on the MEB architecture.
Two other vehicles are well placed to steal the ID.3’s limelight. Porsche will remove the last shred of disguise from its Taycan electric sedan, the first real rival to the Tesla Model S. And Land Rover will unveil the new Defender, a replacement for its iconic off-roader that was produced for 67 years.
All three have had long gestation periods, meaning their reveals will generate welcome excitement for a show that has suffered the loss of several key automakers this year. None of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ brands will be there, nor will Nissan, Toyota, Kia, Volvo or Mazda.
France’s Peugeot and Citroen also are taking a pass. Ford will be there after missing a string of European shows, but its stand will be a muted affair.
Electrification is the big theme. Mercedes-Benz’s stand will feature an electric concept, a new electric minivan and a host of plug-in hybrids.
Hyundai will showcase a retro-themed electric coupe concept, while Honda will borrow historical design cues for its E electric minicar, which will be revealed in production form.
Even Lamborghini is embracing electrification for the first time with a low-volume hybrid supercar.