The Volkswagen ID.4 is about to be one of the most compelling, competitive, complete-package electric vehicles on the US market. Its estimated driving range on a full charge has been certified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and comes in right where it was expected — 250 miles for the base version of the ID.4 Pro and ID.4 1st Edition trims.
Volkswagen ID.4 Range — Plenty Good Enough
I have a car with 250 miles of range (a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus), and think that amount of range is absolutely satisfactory for any normal driver’s needs. In fact, with home charging, I imagine most people would just plug in every other day or every few days.
Frankly, although everyone focuses a lot on range, and although “how far can you drive?” is often the first question someone on the street asks when they see you have an electric car (or “how long does it take to charge?”), I consider range at 250+ miles to be essentially a non-factor. It’s rare that someone with home charging, or even workplace of common-destination charging, will have an issue that makes them think hard about how far they can go. (The question “how long does it take to charge?” is also mostly irrelevant at this point.) I have not had home charging for years and get along fine. I am not a normal case, but with home charging, you would have to be far outside the norm to have a problem with 250 miles of range. (Very long road trips may be a different matter that depend on the exact route.)
So, skipping past range, let’s look at price and cost — two different matters.
Volkswagen ID.4 Price & Cost
Price is straightforward. The MSRP for the Volkswagen ID.4 Pro is $39,995. For the Volkswagen ID.4 1st Edition, it’s $43,995, but that option is sold out. Cost is a whole other matter.
First of all, Volkswagen electric vehicle buyers are still eligible for the full $7,500 tax credit, which brings down the cost of the Pro to $32,495 with the snap of a finger. We still have a ways to go to get to a cost you can compare to a gasoline SUV like the Toyota RAv4 or Honda CR-V, but we’re not done yet.
Consider the fact that the ID.4 has a “fuel economy equivalent” of 104 MPGe in the city, 89 MPGe on the highway, or 97 MPGe combined. According to Volkswagen’s calculation of averages, that leads to an annual cost of about $700 for electricity. Volkswagen estimates that would save a driver about $2,250 a year compared to a similar fossil fuel SUV.
If you have cheaper electricity than the US average, or have options to charge for free (like at work or at ChargePoint stations around town, like I have), the cost could be significantly lower. (I’ve spent $0 charging in 2½ years with electric cars in Florida.)
If you need to charge at Electrify America or EVgo fast charging stations a lot, the charging cost would generally be much higher. However, ID.4 buyers have a special benefit — free charging on the Electrify America network for 3 years.
“ID.4 owners also benefit from three years of unlimited charging sessions with Electrify America at no additional cost to the vehicle’s purchase price,” Volkswagen writes. “Electrify America is the nation’s largest open DC fast charging network with more than 470 charging stations and over 2,000 DC fast chargers, including a newly completed cross-country route to take electric vehicle (EV) drivers from Washington D.C. to L.A.”
Typically, you’ll save a lot of money charging up an ID.4 compared to fueling up a competing gasoline SUV.
There are many other factors: maintenance costs, interest on an auto loan, and the cost of depreciation, for example. We are fond of conducting 5 year cost of ownership analyses to examine how new electric vehicles compare to gasoline vehicles of a similar class and design. This weekend, I will conduct some new ones for the ID.4. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, here are a few related “total cost of ownership” comparisons conducted for the ID.4’s smaller but older sibling, the ID.3 (which, unfortunately, is only available in Europe), and the similarly sized but somewhat more expensive Ford Mustang Mach-E and Tesla Model Y crossover/SUV:
- Volkswagen ID.3 vs. Volkswagen Golf — 5 Year Cost of Ownership Comparisons
- New Volkswagen ID.3 Cost of Ownership vs. Renault Megane & Skoda Octavia
- Tesla Model Y Price Drops — New Cost of Ownership vs. Lexus RX
- Ford Mustang Mach-E vs. Ford Escape — Cost of Ownership, Specs, Features
Okay, even though this is another topic that I think normal people are much more concerned about than they need to be, let’s quickly go through the matter of charging time for an ID.4.
For the most part, it really won’t matter how long it takes to charge the ID.4. When people ask me how long it takes to charge my Tesla, I tell them “I don’t know,” because I don’t really pay attention to how long it takes to charge at destinations I’m visiting — and if I had home charging, I’d have basically no sense of how long I need to charge each week.
In the case of taking a road trip and needing faster charging so that you can get back on the road after a quick bathroom break and perhaps a coffee or a snack, the ID.4 can charge super fast — actually, the term is “ultrafast.” If it has access to a fast enough charger on the route it’s on, 125 kW charging can bring the vehicle from a 5% charge to an 80% charge in 38 minutes. You can find such chargers on the Electrify America network, the EVgo network, or on various networks via PlugShare (an EV charging station aggregator) — each of those have websites and smartphone apps.
Something you can’t really quantify is the fun factor of a car. Driving an electric car is fundamentally much more enjoyable than driving a gas car. The smooth, powerful instant torque of electric motors feels a century more refined than the powertrain of a gasoline or diesel vehicle. And the ID.3 Pro’s 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque certainly won’t disappoint.
Also, even the simple act of plugging in to charge is a fun alternative to fueling up at a smelly, toxic, dirty gas station that pollutes your lungs and your family’s lungs.
You can’t quantify these things, but they are worth a lot.
If you want to learn more about this hot new Volkswagen, you can head over to the ID.4 webpage.
Final Volkswagen ID.4 image courtesy Volkswagen. All other ID.4 photos by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.