We drive the new VW Id.4: Its first electric family car


Volkswagen’s first fully-electric family car the ID.4 has been crowned World Car Of The Year: RAY MASSEY puts it to the test

Volkswagen’s first fully electric family SUV has just been crowned World Car Of The Year — and I’ve been driving it. 

The new ID.4 compact sports utility vehicle is the latest in the firm’s ‘ID’ family of environmentally-friendly zero-emissions battery powered cars and has just gone on sale in the UK, priced from £40,800. It’s a smart, practical vehicle that sits comfortably on any driveway with a tidy minimalist interior. 

But there are a few quirky pre-flight checks. Provided the key’s in your pocket, planting your posterior on the seat automatically starts the car’s electric motor. There’s no need to press the ignition switch. Bums on seats and you’re ready to go. 

Planet-friendly: Volkswagen’s new ID.4 is a fully electric family SUV

Planet-friendly: Volkswagen’s new ID.4 is a fully electric family SUV

Almost. Because there’s no conventional gear lever, rotary dial or stalk, either. Instead, to the right of the steering wheel you will find a twist-and-turn toggle switch. Simple once you get the hang of it. 

Out on the road, don’t expect sports car performance, but it’s zippy enough. Powered by a 77kW 204hp electric motor, the rear wheel drive SUV accelerates from rest to 62mph in 8.5seconds up to a top speed limited to 99mph. 

One interesting feature is the dynamic LED light band stretching the width of the windscreen. This changes its pattern and colour when you are indicating, or to show the car’s charge status. 

The 10in infotainment screen controls much of your life inside the car. But the touch screen and ‘slider’ controls can be fiddly. Charging time on a 7.2kW domestic charger is about 11 hours — so fine for overnight. On a 125kw DC rapid charger, it takes 38 minutes to achieve an 80 per cent charge. While a 30-minute burst will give you 199 miles of range, says VW. 

The car I tested was an ID.4 1st Edition Pro Performance spec, priced at £40,800. Three other trim levels are Life (from £41,570), Family (£45,520) and Max (£49,880). It’s sound on safety having received a top five-star rating in the EuroNCAP crash tests, and includes cruise control, lane assist and parking sensors. 

On Thursday, VW unveiled a sportier four-wheel drive version of the SUV called ID.4 GTX. It aims to produce 1.5 million electric cars by 2025.

VOLKSWAGEN ID.4: WILL IT FIT IN MY GARAGE?

On sale: Now

Price: From £40,800

Battery: 77kWh (net) lithium-ion

Power: 204horse-power

Torque: 310Nm

Transmission: Single-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive

0-62mph: 8.5 seconds

Top speed: 99mph

Range: Up to 310 miles

Charging: 125kW (80 per cent in 38 mins)

The feisty new GTX variant is four-wheel drive with an electric motor on each axle. Its increased 299hp allows it to accelerate to 62mph in 6.2 seconds up to a top speed of 112mph.

The GTX name is not to be confused with that familiar British lubricating oil Castrol GTX. I wonder if they checked?

For the standard ID.4 customers can soon choose between the longer-range 77kW ‘Pro’ battery with the 204hp motor and a range of 310 miles, or a less powerful ‘Pure’ model with a 52kW battery and a choice of a 148hp or 170hp electric motor.

It’s nimble with a tight turning circle of just 10.2 metres, making it ideal for city life.

For those with an active life-style, it’s the first VW electric vehicle that can be fitted with an optional tow-bar for pulling trailers weighing up to 1,000kg.

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It is packed with lots of kit as standard including tinted rear windows, a reversing camera, heated synthetic cloth seats, and 30-colour ambient lighting.

There’s plenty of space in the boot, fold down seats if you need more, good head and legroom, and lots of handy cubby holes and door bins for storing ‘stuff.’

It’s competitively priced for an EV car in a busy market it shares with the likes of Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, the Kia e-Niro and Tesla Model 3.

Officially the ‘ID’ stands for ‘intelligent design’. The new ID.4 range is being built and sold in Europe, China and the US.

MIGHT YOU BE TEMPTED TO TRY SOLAR-POWERED CAR? 

Even with a few bits of drizzle threatened between bouts of Bank Holiday sunshine, might you still be tempted to try an eco-friendly solar-powered car? 

Dutch-firm Lightyear is preparing to launch the world’s first long-range solar electric car, with testing about to start ahead of sales at the end of the year. 

Futuristic: Dutch-firm Lightyear is preparing to launch the world's first long-range solar electric car

Futuristic: Dutch-firm Lightyear is preparing to launch the world’s first long-range solar electric car

Tyre firm Bridgestone is supplying special lightweight, greener, and longer-lasting energy efficient Turanza Eco tyres to help to preserve battery life. 

Its creators say the Lightyear One will have a 450-mile range, though the solar system will reduce rather than remove the need for charging from the mains.

Accelerating from rest to 62mph in less than 10 seconds, the solar cells will allow the car to generate up to 12,500 miles of energy per year (lightyear.one). 

ORIGINAL ‘MONDEO MAN’ RICHARD PARRY-JONES DIES 

You may not know his name, but you will most probably have driven his cars and his influence has helped shape the driving experience of millions of motorists. 

The global motor industry has said a sad and untimely farewell to Richard Parry-Jones: engineering genius, proud Welshman and demon driver after a tragic accident on his farm aged 69. 

He rose to become Ford’s group vice-president of global product development and was arguably the original ‘Mondeo Man’ having worked on its dynamics in the early 1990s.  

Parry-Jones also brought focus to the all-important Ford Focus launched in 1998. Such improvements through the 2000s forced rivals to up their game. At one point he was in charge of 30,000 engineers around the world.

Ford chairman Bill Ford said he had left ‘an indelible mark’ on both his company and the wider industry.

Despite his love of rally driving and the test track, Parry-Jones was also proponent of what he dubbed ‘the 50 metre test’ arguing that in a short run of just 50 metres a perceptive driver could tell whether a car was any good or not.

After retiring from Ford after four decades in 2007, he became chairman of Network Rail, an adviser to industry and government, and latterly a board member at Aston Martin and chairman of car dealership group Marshalls. His incisive expertise and particularly his lively bonhomie will be sadly missed.

RIP ‘RPJ’.

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