Friday, October 22, 2021

Volkswagen’s electric ID.4 was already good, does AWD change that?

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CHATTANOOGA, TENN. – Volkswagen in 2021 looks like quite a different company to Volkswagen around 2015. The company has transformed itself in the wake of dieselgate, and has found forgiveness in the arms of American consumers, as evidenced by the skyrocketing sales of SUV. VW has also thrown itself wholeheartedly into electrification, applying the approach of a highly modular platform that can be used to build a range of battery electric vehicles, including hatchbacks deemed too small for the US. that electric bus that everyone loves so much.

In North America, the ID.4 is the tip of the electric spear, an electric crossover that is perfectly suited to our automotive industry. mode du jour. We’ve driven the ID.4 a couple of times already: briefly as a pre-production prototype, then for a couple of days at home. It wasn’t particularly flashy, and there were a couple of things that needed tweaking. However, overall, we were impressed. (And we weren’t alone).

At launch, the ID.4 was only available in a single configuration: an 82 kWh (gross, 77 kWh usable) lithium-ion battery that powered a 201 hp (150 kW), 229 lb- permanent synchronous electric magnet. ft (310 Nm). motor on the rear axle. But American car buyers like power, and they love four-wheel drive (for potentially the wrong reasons about traction and grip, but that’s neither here nor there).

Four wheel drive means two electric motors

And so, as promised, VW read its twin-engine version of the ID.4, which we recently tested on some mountain and country roads near the company’s huge factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This adds a 107 hp (80 kW), 119 lb-ft (161 Nm) motor to the front axle. With dual motor BEVs, the combined maximum power and torque are more a function of the battery’s ability to power both motors simultaneously (and perhaps some gears) than simply adding both outputs. For the ID.4, that works out to 295 hp (220 kW) and 339 pound-feet (460 Nm).

Unlike a four-wheel drive car or an SUV with an internal combustion engine, there is no mechanical connection between the front and rear axle. Instead, the computer (s) responsible for managing the ID.4s powertrain and vehicle dynamics decide when to send power to each engine.

In everyday driving, especially in Eco or Comfort modes, that is almost always the rear engine. Which means that in everyday driving, the $ 43,675 ID.4 AWD drives a lot like the $ 39,995 ID.4 (both prices are before the $ 7,500 federal tax credit is taken into account).

The front motor is of the asynchronous type, so when no magnetic field is induced, you don’t really notice it’s there in terms of steering feel. And there is not much more mass either. Curb weight has increased from 4,665 pounds (2,116 kg) to 4,782 pounds (2,169 kg), which again isn’t really noticeable.

The turning radius has also been slightly increased. The rear-wheel drive ID.4’s ability to turn on a dime, or 33.5ft / 10.2m, to be precise, was a lovely surprise the first time I drove one, and it’s been a very useful feature ever since. The ID.4 AWD needs 36.4 feet (11.1 m) to do the same, which is still better than most cars on the road.

Is more power automatically better?

Driving day-to-day with an ID.4 is an enjoyable experience, whether driving in the city at 25 mph (40 km / h) or on some of the best mountain roads in Hamilton County. The cab is quiet, without too much wind or high-speed tire noise, something you always notice on a BEV. There’s not a great steering feel, so I tend to prefer the lighter weight of the Eco and Comfort mode to Sport, which increases the amount of effort you need to turn the wheel without adding much more involvement.

On an open road in Eco or Comfort, the ID.4 is even quite fun to drive as a boost car, conserving speed through corners and coasting wherever possible. (With the drive selector at D and ID.4 in Eco or Comfort modes, it coasts when you take your foot off the gas; in B it engages some regenerative braking when you lift.) That’s an efficient way to drive too, though on a BEV if you need to use the left pedal it recovers some of that energy through regenerative braking (at least down to 0.25G, at which point the friction brakes take over) .

Comfort is probably the sweet spot for roads, as the speed limiter in Eco begins to seriously slow down acceleration above 75 mph (120 km / h), which can often just be the speed of traffic on the roads. from USA

Sport mode makes more use of the front engine, especially if you’re reckless on the right pedal. It doesn’t exactly turn the ID.4 into a GTI, conveniently making room for a hotter version in time, but it drops a couple of seconds from the 0-60 mph time, to a hatch that rivals 5.4 seconds.

Still, this is not a driving experience to rival a hatch, nor is it meant to be. Going too fast into a curve and you will encounter understeer that requires you to slow down if you want to overcome it successfully. If you need to cover ground quickly, slow entry and fast exit work best. Sport mode also increases the predetermined amount of take-off feedback in D, and in B it’s almost a true single-pedal driving mode, although the car won’t come to a complete stop like other BEVs with true single-pedal driving.

As in my previous review of the ID.4 First Edition, at least once I noticed the traction control icon lighting up, and not during what I would consider a low traction event. In fact, I wouldn’t have known anything about it except for the brief time it was displayed on the glyph. For true low-traction driving, the ID.4 AWD has a pull mode, which activates both engines together at speeds up to 12 mph (19 km / h). Unfortunately I didn’t find any suitable stretch of sand or mud to prove that. I didn’t even get a chance to test the ID.4 AWD in the rain, which lingered until the afternoon (at which point it came in hard and heavy).

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