Volkswagen’s Tesla Model 3 Rival Begins Public Testing With 435 Miles Range

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The switch from TDI to electric cannot be made overnight, but VW seems to be making giant steps into that direction, with a cornucopia of electric models to be launched in the next couple of years, as part of the ID range and beyond it.

Obviously, the first steps toward fully electric mobility were small in the beginning, with the e-Golf and the tiny e-Up! being just a taste of what was about to come after the TDI era.

Spearheaded by the ID.3 compact hatchback, a huge array of EVs based on Volkswagen’s MEB electric-only architecture have started to pop up like mushrooms after a summer rain. After the ID.3 came the ID.4 and ID.5 crossovers, which were recently followed by the larger ID.6, also an emissions-free crossover but with larger dimensions.

The next step is obvious but unexpected at the same time, especially in the context of dropping sales for the sedan shape in general.

Volkswagen is now gunning for Tesla and its Model 3 in particular, with a more premium and rather spacious fastback sedan, soon to be followed by a shooting brake version.

Known internally as the Aero and the Aero B, the two models will essentially be the electric equivalent of the Arteon and the Arteon Shooting Brake, both of which are currently the top of the range VW models.

Spy photographers have recently managed to spot a pre-production prototype of the Aero sedan during its first public outing, and it leaves us with more questions than answers.

First of all, what you see in the images above is not a mildly camouflaged production version but more like an architecture mule, with a hodgepodge of various Volkswagen parts being tacked on it.

Second of all, things like the proportions, wheelbase and overhangs are identical to the end product, including the hatchback solution for the luggage compartment, thus making the Aero more like a Tesla Model S instead of a notchback like the Model 3, with which it will compete.

To be available in both single-motor, RWD and dual-motor with all-wheel-drive, the production version of the Aero is said to come with a battery large enough to give the model a range of around 700 km (435 miles). That range is actually quoted by none other than Ralf Brandstätter, the CEO of VW passenger cars, so we don’t even need to speculate if it’s true or not.