Volkswagen’s new all-electric crossover, the 2021 ID.4, has sailed through US EPA testing with no upset in its range results, an important milestone as the automaker tries to make a splash in the affordable EV segment. Arriving at dealerships imminently, the ID.4 is America’s first taste of VW’s MEB platform, its purpose-built architecture for battery-electric vehicles.
That’s a departure from the previous pure-electric models that VW has offered in North America before. The discontinued e-Golf, for example, may have been an EV but it was based on the same platform as the standard, internal combustion version of the car.
MEB, though, was designed from the outset with electric drive alone in mind. Flexible enough to scale down to compact urban hatchbacks and up through luxury sedans to large SUVs, it can also be set up with front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive, and with differing battery pack sizes to balance range, weight, and price. For the first examples of the 2021 ID.4, Volkswagen opted for an 82 kWh battery and RWD, with the single electric motor good for 201 horsepower and 228 lb-ft of torque.
That, the automaker predicted, would work out to 250 miles on the EPA’s test cycle. Sure enough, when the US Environmental Protection Agency published the 2021 ID.4’s numbers – for both the limited-availability ID.4 1st and the ID.4 Pro S, which have the same battery pack – it clocks in at the expected 250 miles.
It’s enough to put the ID.4 firmly in the midst of its electric vehicle segment. Tesla’s numbers remain the range to beat, with the Model Y rated between 291 and 316 miles by the EPA, while Chevrolet’s Bolt EV – a little smaller than the ID.4 – drops in at 259 miles. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, also just about to arrive at US dealerships, had its range figures certified by the EPA earlier in the week; it will do between 211 and 300 miles, depending on model and drivetrain configuration.
Over at Hyundai, the 2021 Kona Electric is similarly priced to the ID.4, and rated at 258 miles on a charge. Audi’s e-tron and e-tron Sportback, along with the Jaguar I-PACE, are more expensive than the VW, and fall short of its quoted range too – at 220, 218, and 234 miles, respectively – though badge prestige might offset any disappointment there. Volvo’s new 2021 XC40 Recharge and its 2021 Polestar 2 cousin are rated by the EPA at 208 and 233 miles, respectively.
These first two ID.4 models, of course, are only the start of Volkswagen’s assault on the EV space. As well as other configurations of the crossover – including all-wheel drive variants due next year – there’ll be other vehicles based on the MEB platform as the automaker chases its ambitious electric sales goals. Meanwhile, the sticker price of the ID.4 itself is expected to dip too. Though the current cars are being shipped over to the US from Germany, from 2022 VW plans to build the electric crossover in the US as well; the localized, North American-made ID.4 could start from around $35,000 before any credits or incentives.