Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess showed off the ID.3 electric hatch at the Frankfurt show last week. Picture: Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters.

Wolfsburg - Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess says his company's massive scale will enable it to make profits on large numbers of affordable electric cars it aims to sell in the next several years.

Electric rival Tesla has not yet turned a profit while analysts say fellow German carmaker BMW has lost money on its i3 electric.

Diess told The Associated Press on Tuesday: "Our approach is different. We come with high volumes, we come with a dedicated platform that is only for electric cars, and we generate a lot of scale because we are investing at the same time in China, in Europe, and in the US."

Volkswagen revealed the ID.3 electric hatchback at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week, which will have a base price under 30 000 euros (R485 000). Volkswagen aims to have 40% of its sales mix made up by electrics by 2030, even though such cars currently account for less than 2 percent of the market in Europe.

Built on an all-new electric car platform called MEB, the ID.3 is a Golf-sized hatchback, and it's set to spawn a whole family of ‘ID’ models, which will eventually include SUVs and a retro reincarnation of the original Kombi inspired by the ID Buzz concept.

The ID.3’s batteries are integrated into the underbody in order to optimise space utilisation and lower the centre of gravity, and at launch the electric hatch will be available with three battery options, offering ranges of betwen 330km and 550km between charges.

Plugged into a 100kW fast-charging facility, it is possible to charge up for a range of 290km in just half an hour, according to Volkswagen.