The Volkswagen ID.3 will communicate using light

Russell Campbell
October 09, 2019

Volkswagen hopes to inject personality into its ID.3 electric car using a light bar to communicate with you and your passengers.

It’s an idea you’ll have already seen in the Mini 3-door which uses a lit-up infotainment bezel to communicate what it’s doing to its passengers – a bit a like a chameleon changes colour depending on how it feels.

In the ID.3 an LED light strip – called ID. Light – that runs across the dashboard changes colour depending on the function it’s set in. A green light, for example, signals to the driver that the car is on, charged and ready to go – a handy feature in lieu of the humming petrol or diesel engine you’ll get in most VWs. Once you’re under way the same light bar will be used to communicate information on the car’s driver assist, navigation, braking and wireless phone connection.

The effect, according to VW, is to reduce the stress of driving by giving signals that you can react to instinctively, leaving your brain to worry about driving the car.  For example, a red light will tell you need to apply the brakes – flashing when a potential collision nears – blinking could also indicate you’re in the wrong lane for your turnoff, so there’s no need to sit gazing at the sat-nav screen, while another new colour could indicate whether the car is responding to you or your passengers voice commands and is acting upon them. 

While there’s no mention of it in this press release, the ID.3’s exterior will also get the full light treatment. You can expect its outside LEDs to perform a ‘hello’ sequential dance when you unlock the car, illuminating your way when you get in. Locking the car, meanwhile, will spark a ‘goodbye’ light show that’ll guide you safely to your door at night.

The idea is to give the ID.3 a personality of its own – like an electric Herbie – time will tell if it works. 

Keep your eyes peeled to the carwow news pages for more on the VW ID.3 when we have it.