VW Invite electrek Head to their Chattanooga factory location to check out the new AWD ID.4, which powers the electric SUV with a front-wheel-drive motor making around 200 to 300 horsepower. Even better, next year, North American units of the ID.4 will be made locally at the huge VW factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which is what we got to see for the first time…
I got a few days to see the RWD 200 horsepower ID.4 in March just before a blizzard this year and found it to be an excellent car, but not suited for my very steep, uncultivated driveway in a snowstorm Was. The biggest thing for me was that it was an EV that anyone could jump in and drive right away. No awkward doors like the Mach-E, and no center-only display and spartan interior like the Tesla Model Y. Just a great car for ICE converts who don’t necessarily read electric car websites regularly.
However, my complaints fall in a few general areas…
- no awd
- average power
- slow/buggy center stack software
- No Plug and Charge Charging
AWD ID.4 is almost exactly the same car outside and inside. There’s no frank space to take up by the extra motor, and apart from the AWD label on the sides and 0.6-inch more ground clearance, it appears to be identical to the original RWD model. Oh, the VW logo lights up on the front – which isn’t on all RWD models or in Europe.
If the spec sheet didn’t eliminate the first two demerits on my list, a few seconds behind the wheel sealed the deal. 300 horsepower, 339 lb-ft of torque, and a 5.4-second 0-60 is fast enough for most drivers—putting the AWD ID 4 in the same class as the standard Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y. Top speed is about 112 mph… or so I’m told.
Since the electric drivetrain is silent, it destroys VW’s main two ICE competitors, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, without even trying. I can’t imagine anyone driving these three cars and coming away without ID. 4 away on 1st place driving alone. Oh, and it has an impressive 36.4-foot turn.
Off Roading ID.4?
To our luck, a glitch in the car’s basic navigation system had us going down a dirt road in the mountains around Chattanooga, so we had to unexpectedly test the suspension and all-wheel drive off the asphalt.
I can say that it passed with flying colors. I’m not sure if the big 20-inch wheels or suspension were the differentiator, but it’s a road that I don’t feel comfortable taking my Model Y on, at least at relatively high speeds. We’ll have a video of the experience by the end of this week.
While we didn’t get to test the ID.4’s towing capacity, it is rated for 2700 pounds. And comes with the tow hitch pre-installed. I would imagine that 250 miles with a camper on the back becomes quite a bit.
ID.4 Over the Air Update Wanted!
The native navigation glitch was one of several serious center stack issues that are still sore on this car. The advantage of this is that once you’re in CarPlay or Android Auto, all the glitches are gone and most people I know with CarPlay or Android Auto use it almost exclusively for vehicle native navigation and entertainment. use on systems. With both wireless CarPlay and USB-C and wireless charging options, it’s super easy to get into CarPlay and stay there.
VW says it will continue to update the Center Stack OTA, making it faster and more reliable, but it’s been almost a year since we launched—I think we’re officially lagging behind here. The navigation system, which I think is powered by Nokia’s Here Maps, looked like it wanted to get us into a deliverance scenario that would see us in a dilapidated house with feral dogs and car parts all over the yard. directs. The only thing missing was the duel banjo.
Speaking of lagging OTAs, the gold standard of charging, something that every EV engineer should have at the top of their list, is the Plug and Charge standard for EV charging. The Ford Mustang Mach-E and VW’s sibling brand Porsche Taycan can go to a (VW-owned) Electrify America station and just plug in—as can all Teslas at their self-owned stations. With VW’s ID.4, all you currently need is an app or an RFID transaction.
We asked again this time, as we did in the winter, when Plug and Charge was coming and again we are hearing that it is in the upcoming OTA.
More questions for Volkswagen USA
VW made available US CEO Scott Keogh, product manager for EVs Jeffrey Lear, and Dustin Cross, former Tesla exec and VW e-mobility director, and I get it.
corner them at the bar Ask questions to 3.
When to plug and charge?
Jeff: It’s high on our priority list but getting ID 4 and now AWD ID 4 out the door was clearly our top priority. We’ve done that and now we’re focusing on the little things. We’re also working on bi-direction charging in future models, but have nothing to announce today. We are working on that center stack as well. [There was some ambiguity about if current VW ID.4 models would be able to get bi-directional charging as a software update]
How do you feel about the current Democratic administration law that’s making its way through Washington stipulating that automakers with unions will receive more subsidies on EVs than those of VW, Tesla, Nissan, etc.?
Scott: Why should workers in Detroit have favorable incentives over workers in Tennessee? We don’t think it’s fair and we plan to fight to level the playing field.
who decided No Why else to bring ID.3 to the US? You’re still seeing success with the Golf and GTI in the US so why not electrify that product range?
Scott: The decision was made jointly with the US team and the German headquarters. The reason was to put all the wood behind the ID.4 at launch. The direction things were headed towards bigger cars and SUVs in the US (not to mention Europe and China which are seeing the same trend). In fact, we think ID.4 will even outpace ID.3 in Europe.
If you knew that Chevy Bolt sales *would be rising in flames*, would that have changed the calculus on ID.3?
What are we going to see next from VW in terms of electrification in the US?
Dustin: Next up for the US is the return of the iconic Microbus in ID. Buzz form factor. It will be a 7-8 seat transporter that we will see in the late 2023 to 2024 range. it will be full 3 rows and even [6’3″?] Adults like me can easily fit in the back row as the front row is more towards the front of the car as compared to SUV. ya sedan is the thing to be seen [ID.Aero + Space Vizzion wagon] from our presentation [pictured below]:
VW also invited us to visit the factory and check out the battery assembly, where they’ll take cells from SK Innovation in Georgia and pack them into car-sized modules. Final assembly takes place outside the city of Chattanooga at the adjacent large factory complex. It’s a sight to behold and the photos I was allowed to take (many areas were off-limits including the battery assembly) don’t do it justice:
I came away from this event feeling really good about VW’s prospects in the US EV industry in the future. Clearly still catching up to Tesla in terms of EV output, they are ahead of their traditional automobile manufacturing brethren in the transition to EV. On a local level, our own Bradley Chambers could spend hours talking about how the “chat plant” has done a great job in the surrounding area, boosting the economy by bringing great jobs and people to the city.
The AWD ID.4 is exactly what I wanted hardware-wise after driving the RWD model out in the snow. It’s peppy, and it can go off-road and through inclement weather. I should note that the actual car I was driving was made in Germany, but it is very similar to the one that will be built in the US next year on a similar assembly line.
Center stack software and features like plug and charge/bi-directional charging aren’t available yet, and until those promises are met, it’s our job to keep VW’s nose up to the grindstone. But overall, the package is great right now and at a very attractive price, especially after the subsidy.
We can’t wait to spend more time with VW on the ID.4 and other EVs that are in the pipeline.
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