Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Although electric vehicles (EVs) only comprise 2% of the automotive market, we should all begin prepping for a future that reduces the populace’s carbon footprint because there are serious matters at stake, from global warming to increased chronic sickness from pollutants. The good news is that most automakers are making commitments to replace gasoline engines with EVs within the next ten years. Volkswagen (VW) has strengthened the conversation with its innovative, deliberate, and resourceful 2021 ID.4 compact SUV.
I love when a gas-free ride rolls into the Automotive Rhythms driveway because it taps into my already clean-living vegan lifestyle. Everything I do focuses on limiting the consumption of Earth’s resources. That’s why I was happy to hear that the seating surfaces of the ID.4 are leatherette (Galaxy Black). Now, VW needs to work on the leather steering wheel if they are going down that path. Similarly, sister brand Audi is using synthetic leather in the e-Tron GT. In this case, my Dusk Blue 1st Edition model came with an intriguing white steering wheel. But the most remarkable aspect of EV ownership is that you no longer have to visit grimy gas stations and can recharge at home or at charging stations. Roughly 4 million compact SUVs are sold annually, and owners in this category drive an average of 59 miles a day. So you won’t have to charge publicly as often as you think, and when you do, Electrify America is at your disposal.
The other exciting prospect for EVs is the reduced maintenance requirements since they are engineered with fewer moving parts than gasoline vehicles. No more oil changes, folks. But people are still skeptical, and the charging infrastructure requires more attention. For example, what about individuals living in apartment complexes or townhouses? Do they want to go to a public EV station to juice up? Despite that, the “range anxiety” topic doesn’t seem to be much of a concern anymore since EV battery technology has evolved. For example, the ID.4 can travel 250 miles (Pro S and ID.4 models) when fully charged, taking about 7.5 hours with a 240v power line. Moreover, the ID.4 only needs 10 minutes for 60 miles of energy with a 125 kW or higher DC fast charger.
There is no styling denial that the pod, outer space identity of the ID.4 is that of an EV, especially at night when the front fascia’s illuminating light bar and logo shine to correspond with the cat-eye LED headlights. My ride was outfitted with 20” alloy rims positioned at the corners for superb maneuverability, but 19s are standard. A panoramic fixed-glass roof with an electric sunshade, tailgate spoiler, and silver roof racks complete the exterior elements. VW also instilled the compact SUV with a hitch-based towing capacity of up to 2,200 lbs. I don’t particularly like the underhand door handles; the actuation of opening feels unnatural.
The little guy is pretty spirited and darts away quickly anytime you lightly hit the accelerator. Its modular electric drive architecture consists of RWD (AWD coming soon), a single electric motor, and an 82 kWh Lithium-ion battery. With this setup, the ID.4 is motivated by 201-horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque. However, you have to give the brake pedal extra force when stopped, or it will slowly roll backward. Drivers can also set the vehicle in Eco, Comfort, Sport, or Custom drive modes. Even though the ID.4 is not marketed as a sporty variant, it does come with a pretty sporty, flat-bottom steering wheel and bolstered seats. VW says a racier version is coming that will be more in tune with its performance competitors. VW warranties the battery for eight years/100,000 miles.
Inside, the ID.4 is very theatrical and comforts you with imagination utilizing all things digital and irradiated. With no physical knobs, everything is touch capacitive. This is cool, but I need buttons. Its 10.3″ Discover Pro Touch infotainment system (12″ available) is the nucleus, and the 5.3″ ID Cockpit is like a gaming controller that overs over the multifunction wheel and handles the ignition starter, shifts, and various other responsibilities. The vehicle is so connected that it automatically starts up when the key is sensed. Digital touch windows, wireless phone charging, surround cameras, 30-color ambient lighting settings, USB-c ports, Wireless App-Connect, Car-Net with Wi-Fi capability, Climatronic Touch dual-zone automatic climate control, Hello ID voice control, and vehicle status details are just a few of the advanced features. Armrests on the driver and passenger seats, a cargo area with adjustable floors, and 60/40 split rear folding seats add to the ID.4’s versatility and comfort.
For safety and conveniences, the ID.4 is outfitted with IQ.DRIVE advanced driver assistance technology including Active Side Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Monitoring, Autonomous Braking, Lane-Keeping System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Travel Assist, and much more.
With competition from the likes of the new Mustang Mach-e and the Bolt EUV, the ID.4 starts at $39,995 before a potential $7,500 Federal tax credit and possible state credits. My 1st Edition model kicked off with an MSRP of $43,995. VW has 160,000 vehicle credits left while Tesla and GM have used up their 200,000 allotments. But Chevy will pay to have a DC fast charger installed in your home, so that’s commendable. Yet, VW offers three years of free, fast charging with Electrify America.
The electric wave is upon us, so you might as well begin retooling your mindset and decide which EV auto brand’s wave you will ride.