Cars

Volkswagen ID.4 a Glimpse Into Brave New (Electric) World

DETROIT — We have driven more all-electric vehicles in the past three months than we have in a lifetime. What seemed like the distant future is now upon us. The latest wattage on four wheels that we’ve evaluated was Volkswagen’s ID.4.

We have no idea what that stands for. But we can share some truths.

The ID.4 was quiet, but it was not silent. Road noises combined with wind noise provided that aural sense needed when driven. Trust us, absolute silence while driving can be dangerous.

And we have been surprised that electric vehicles function like internal combustion-powered cars. They are quick, steady on the road and they have the same equipment; Volkswagen’s ID.4 included.

Our tester was silent when we started it. The gear selector was on the column, as was the pushbutton start. But it was a bit different. It was such a quick loan, two days, that there was no time to go over the equipment point-for-point.

Volkswagen is selling the ID.4 as a sport-utility. It was compact, low to the ground and spunky. Our test vehicle had a fixed panoramic roof. Two digital screens inside gave it a sleek uncluttered interior. The point is that although electric sounds exotic, the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 operated like a gasoline-powered crossover.

The electric motor was located at the rear above the axle. Synthetic sound is generated up to 20 mph to make pedestrians and cyclists aware of the ID.4’s presence.

The electric ID.4 made 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. Our test vehicle was rear-wheel drive; Volkswagen promises that an all-wheel-drive version is a few months down the road.

Volkswagen said the electric drive unit only weighs about 200 pounds, including the motor, gearbox and power and control electronics for the electric drive, and fits into a duffle bag. There are only two gears, forward and backward.

Our Volkswagen ID.4 had a range of 250 miles, although our test vehicle had 230-mile range when we first got in it. Hey, they had to drive it here. It had an estimated EPA fuel economy of 104 MPGe in the city, 89 MPGe on the highway and 97 MPGe combined.

The 1,087 lb. battery is positioned in the underbody between the axles. It created a low center of gravity that was well balanced. While we were driving the car, there was no swaying in the curves and no nose dives or rises during braking and acceleration. But in full disclosure, we chose to drive the ID.4 gently.

Volkswagen said its ID.4 can save as much as $3,500 annually in fuel cost.

The battery pack has to be cooled and Volkswagen developed a system that houses the ID.4’s power pack at a reasonable 77 degrees and will hold at least 70 percent of its capacity for eight years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

That batter can be charged with either direct current or alternating current. All models will be equipped with combined charging systems for home and public charging.

Prices start at $39,995 for the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4, which is on sale now. VW is also offering three years of fast (direct) charging with Electrify America. Get a home charger and you can alleviate loads of range anxiety.

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com

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