Closer look at VW’s new ID.4 electric SUV

Volkswagen aims for the North American mainstream with 2021 ID.4 electric SUV

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The first of Volkswagen’s new generation of ID electric vehicles for North America will be the ID.4, a compact SUV that will arrive in the US in early 2021. The first Canadian deliveries will follow in the summer.

VW is investing billions to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% in the 10 years to 2025, and to a carbon-neutral position by 2050. It plans to have no fewer than 75 all-electric models on sale across its brands worldwide by 2029 under the slogan, “Electric cars for everyone”.

VW ID.4 release date & pricing

The ID.4 – which is similar in size to a Tiguan – will lead the charge. Reservations are already being taken in the US, where the MSRP starts at US$39,995 before potential tax credits. Canadian ordering and pricing details will be confirmed closer to launch; there’s no word yet on whether the newcomer will qualify for the Canadian federal EV rebate, should that still be in place next summer.

2021 VW ID4 compact electric suv rear view
2021 VW ID4 rear styling features an end-to-end LED light bar. Photo: Volkswagen

Although the ID.3 compact hatchback is already reaching customers in Europe, Volkswagen has opted for the ID.4 as its first vehicle on the new, all-electric MEB platform in North America because compact SUVs represent the biggest sector of the market. There are no plans for the ID.3 to come to the US but it may yet be sold in Canada.

“We will closely monitor ID.3 as well as another ID concept vehicle that’s already created a buzz on the auto show circuit,” says Pierre Boutin, managing director and CEO, Volkswagen Group Canada, without offering further details.

ID.4 charging and estimated mileage

The ID.4’s attractive styling delivers a low drag coefficient of 0.28, which contributes to an estimated range of more than 400km from the standard 82kWh (77kWh usable capacity) underfloor battery pack.

LG Chem will supply the battery cells for Zwickau ID.4 production. Supply switches to SK Innovation for Chattanooga-made vehicles from 2022. Photo: Volkswagen

Fast charging up to 125kW DC will be possible, which should take the battery from 5% full to 80% in around 38 minutes. New ID.4s will come with a complementary subscription for at least two years to Electrify Canada charging stations. A similar arrangement in the US will provide three years’ access to Electrify America’s network.

Power and performance

There will be a choice of RWD or AWD ID.4s. The RWD model will have 201 HP and a zero-60mph (100km/h) time of 7.8 seconds; the 302-HP AWD model shaves two seconds off that figure for GTI-like performance and has a towing capacity of 2,700 lb. US ID.4s will be RWD-only to begin with, with the AWD arriving later in 2021. Canada will get both from day one.

ID.4 ‘Pro’ one and only model

Specifying an ID.4 will be simplified by the availability of a single ‘Pro’ model that comes with standard wireless phone charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 5.3in driver and 10in central screens, IQ.Drive driver-assistance systems and illuminated exterior door handles.

2021 VW ID-4 compact electric suv rear cargo
ID.4 offers 858L of cargo capacity behind the rear seats, or 1818L with them folded – about 10% less than in the Tiguan. Photo: Volkswagen

Statement Package, heat pump for winter, and improvements over the Tiguan

The optional Statement package includes leatherette power seats, a panoramic glass roof, a bi-colour ‘Gradient’ package with a black roof and a 12in central screen. 

Available from the start on Canadian models (but not initially in the US) is a heat pump to help get the car up to temperature quickly in the cold of winter. “The pump features a new type of refrigerant with a lower boiling point, which makes it more efficient at extreme low temperatures,” explains Patrick Danielson, director of product planning at Volkswagen Canada. “That reduces the load on the high-voltage battery to improve real-world range in winter conditions.”

Dedicated specialists at every VW dealer will be available to detail the benefits of EV ownership to customers. The company believes that competitive pricing, interior space, good ride and handling and great maneuverability – the ID.4’s turning circle is 1.7m tighter than the Tiguan’s – will help make EVs a mainstream choice.

Limited availability at first

ID.4s will initially come in limited quantity from VW’s production facility in Zwickau, Germany for the 50-state US launch. Volkswagen Canada will begin its rollout in the three provinces with the highest EV sales volumes – Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario – before selling nationwide. 

Availability should improve when ID.4 production comes on-stream at Chattanooga, Tennessee, from 2022. VW USA has already said that relocating production to the US will enable the MSRP to drop to as low as US$35,000.

“We’re fighting as hard as we can to get as many as we can,” says Boutin. “We expect EVs to account for an important part of our business in Canada by 2025.”

Pictures of the 2021 VW ID.4:

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  • 2021 VW ID4 compact electric suv 1
  • 2021 VW ID4 compact electric suv 2
  • 2021 VW ID4 compact electric suv 3
  • 2021 VW ID4 compact electric suv 4
  • 2021 VW ID4 compact electric suv 5
  • 2021 VW ID4 compact electric suv 6
  • 2021 VW ID4 compact electric suv 7
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  • 2021 VW ID4 compact electric suv 12
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  • 2021 VW ID4 compact electric suv 20
  • 2021 VW ID4 compact electric suv 21
  • The new Volkswagen ID.3
Graham Heeps
Based in Calgary, AB, Graham’s outlets include Autocar, Professional Motorsport World, Turnology.com and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology. A lifelong motorsports fan, he’s a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), the Guild of Motoring Writers and the Motor Press Guild, speaks German and collects Matchbox cars (at the same time).

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