Volkswagen revealed its 2021 ID.4 electric vehicle (EV) on September 23, the brand’s first-ever dedicated EV for the U.S. market. The ID.4 is the initial model in an eventual family of ID vehicles as VW begins its corporate shift to a lineup reliant completely on electric propulsion. The ID.4 goes on sale in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2021 at a staring price, before a federal tax incentive, of $39,995.
In a conference call with media following the ID.4’s introduction, Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, said the company is keenly aware of price as a chief factor for U.S. consumers to consider an EV – thus the launch version of ID.4 being fitted with just a single drive motor for the rear axle and a 82-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that provides a comparatively modest maximum range of 250 miles (402 km). “Price point for us was critical,” Keogh said, noting that the average price for EVs sold in the U.S. market currently is about $55,000. “We’ve seen EV success if you hit the [compelling] price point.”
The ID.4 is being marketed as a SUV, however, and he conceded that many SUV customers seek all-wheel drive. Keogh promised an AWD variant of the ID4 will launch “quite soon” after the rear-drive model. “We know what the segment wants,” he said, adding that although the ID.4 is launching with rear-wheel drive in an effort to keep pricing as low as possible, the upgrade to AWD will be “similar to the premium” VW charges for its conventional 4Motion AWD system. For 2021 internal-combustion models, the charge for 4Motion ranges from $1,300 to $1,900.
U.S.-built – batteries, too
Initial ID.4 models will be imported from VW’s Zwickau assembly plant in Mosel, Germany. Starting in 2022, VW said in a release, U.S. ID.4 production will be sourced from the company’s assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the plant will build a “localized version” of the ID.4 with pricing starting around $35,000.
Keogh said the ID.4’s battery supplier is SK Innovation (SKI) and that the U.S.-built ID.4’s battery cells will be sourced from SKI’s new production facility in Commerce, Georgia. The 82-kWh battery pack for the rear-drive ID.4 is comprised of 288 cells arranged in 12 modules housed in an aluminum structure between the chassis side rails. He was not specific when answering questions about ID.4s with larger battery packs – such as for the AWD model – but did say SKI already produces cells for 55-kWh and 62-kWh configurations, suggesting the less-expensive U.S.-built model may be fitted with one of those lower-capacity battery sizes.
Borrowing one beloved customer perk from Tesla – the company Keogh said effectively isn’t a direct competitor – the ID.4 comes with three years of fast charging from VW subsidiary Electrify America. The ID.4 is fitted with an 11-kW onboard charger for AC recharging or DC fast-charging. At a DC charger with 125-kW capability, the company said the ID.4 can recharge from 5% of battery capacity to 80% in roughly 38 minutes. The traction motor for the rear-drive ID.4 generates 201 hp (150 kW) and 288 lb-ft (390 Nm). When the ID.4 is fitted with AWD, it will develop 302 hp (225 kW), the company said.
Compact dimensions, conventional construction
In a release, VW said the ID.4 “sits squarely in the middle of the compact SUV segment, size-wise.” At 180.5 in (4585 mm) overall, it is 4.6 in (117 mm) shorter overall than the company’s Tiguan, while the ID.4’s wheelbase is just 0.9 in (23 mm) shorter than the Tiguan’s 108.9-in (2766-mm) between axles. The ID.4’s height is 64.4 in (1636 mm), 1.9 in (48 mm) lower than Tiguan.
Although its battery pack is encased in aluminum, the ID.4’s body and chassis are steel, VW said. The front suspension is a strut arrangement with lower control arms and an anti-roll bar. The rear suspension is a multilink design. One chassis specification to raise eyebrows is the ID.4’s use of drum brakes at the rear. Volkswagen said EVs often make little use of the rear brakes and that discs can degrade from long periods of little use. During the media background session, Keogh promised the ID.4 “drives like a GTI.”
Volkswagen said the ID.4’s interior volume is similar to that of the Tiguan. A digital display replaces a conventional instrument cluster, while a 10-in central touchscreen, with VW’s gesture-control, handles most ancillary actions. The crossover also features an extensive suite of driver-assistance features.Continue reading »