Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV 2021: specs, pictures and on-sale date
Volkswagen continues to trickle-feed information about its forthcoming ID.4 all-electric SUV, as the brand readies the family car for launch early in 2021. The company has confirmed that the reveal of a Tiguan plug-in hybrid poses no risk to the pure-electric model, insisting that it'll continue to offer a range of powertrain options for the foreseeable future.
Speaking with DrivingElectric, Volkswagen’s head of product marketing Dr. Hendrik Muth said: “We want to offer customers the best of both worlds. ID will offer [pure-electric] ranges that are very significant, very long.
“It is still two generations before we make the full transition to zero-emission,” he said. “At the moment, we have different customers with different demands.”
The new ID.4 electric SUV will be a similar size to the Tiguan, and like its ID.3 hatchback sibling, is expected to be offered with a range of battery sizes – each offering different range and performance figures. Volkswagen says the ID.4 will initially be sold in rear-wheel-drive form only, with an all-wheel-drive version following in due course.
That means an entry-level model with a 45kWh battery and around 148bhp, plus a longer-range 77kWh version with up to 201bhp. The former (depending on spec) is expected to return up to 205 miles in the hatch, so expect a little less in the heavier SUV. The more powerful ID.4 model could return as many as 311 miles in good weather.
The new ID.4, revealed in official images earlier this year, hasn't yet been seen without camouflage. However, the distinct ID family styling is clear to see, with a familiar front end and recognisable lighting signature, complimented by a high beltline, also seen on the ID.3 hatchback. It'll get a more upright front grille design than its sibling, making it look closer to combustion-engined Volkswagen SUVs such as the Tiguan and Touareg.
Like the ID.3, VW claims it'll be carbon-neutral at the point of handover to the customer, with the brand having reduced CO2 emissions from manufacturing as much as possible, offsetting any remaining emissions through environmental programmes.
Volkswagen has previously confirmed that production of the ID.4 will begin at the end of 2020, though that’s likely to be pushed back slightly due to the coronavirus pandemic. We expect a date of early 2021 is more feasible.
The ID.4 will also be the first vehicle based on Volkswagen Group's MEB electric-car platform to be sold in China, with nine further models set to reach the country's market by 2023. The ID.4 will also be sold in the US and Europe.
Volkswagen ID.4 design
Like the ID.3, the ID.4 is based on Volkswagen's MEB platform, which has been designed from the off to underpin a wide range of electric cars. Whereas the ID.3 has a regular five-door hatchback shape, the ID.4 is quite different – part-coupe, part-SUV. It sits a little higher off the ground and has a sleeker body than the ID.3.
Inside, the way the batteries are hidden away under the floor makes for a ‘lounge-like’ interior, says Volkswagen. There were just four seats in concept versions of the car, while the dashboard is fully digital and can be operated by voice or gesture control, and a 515-litre boot ensures the car is pretty practical.
Electric motor and battery
As is often the case with electric cars, the ID.4 will be available with four-wheel drive thanks to separate electric motors on the front and rear axles. A single-motor, rear-wheel-drive version will appear first, however. The ID.4 has been confirmed to have a range of more than 300 miles.
The ID.4 will be compatible with fast charging: bringing the batteries up to 80% from flat will take just 30 minutes from a suitable charger. The battery packs are modular, too, which means Volkswagen could take a leaf out of Tesla’s book and offer the ID.4 with a range of different capacities – as it's doing with the ID.3.
We’ve yet to drive the ID.4, even as a concept, but Volkswagen proudly says the car will be as good across country as it is in town. And, thanks to near-50:50 weight distribution, it’s expected to handle as sharply as a Golf GTI.