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BMW & Volkswagen Expand & Improve Their EV Offerings

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One to two decades ago, the automotive industry was largely tinkering around the edges of engine technology to get better efficiency. The same basic piston engine had been successful for a long, long time, and keeping past investment in them paying off wasn’t terribly hard. Improved valvetrains, improved turbocharging that could reliably last, lean-burn technology, and other things could squeeze a few more MPG out of engines to keep regulators happy.

When that failed to deliver government-mandated results for diesel, we now know that they simply found ways to cheat. If a car’s computer could tell when it’s plugged into emissions testing equipment, it could easily change its parameters and operate with far less power while delivering the required environmental results. The resulting “Dieselgate” scandal (when researchers caught on) was the most well-known, but a number of other manufacturers were caught doing the same cheating, while others were caught price-fixing and manipulating markets to prevent the phaseout of dirty diesel engines.

As most CleanTechnica fans would know, there was one U.S. company that was doing basically the opposite of this. Rather than trying to find ways to make minor changes or cheat the systems, Tesla was working toward much more fundamental changes in vehicle technology. After seeing automakers scuttle California’s EV transition program, Tesla’s founders and biggest investor decided that it was time to make serious change in the industry.

After years on “death watch” by automotive writers (a serious possibility in those days), Tesla not only survived, but showed the world that EVs are commercially viable. The rest of the industry was then forced to acknowledge reality and move forward toward the electrification they had been fighting for decades.

Now, after being forced to fly right, we’re starting to see big automotive players who used to play stupid games start to make some real advancements of their own. In this article, I’m going to briefly cover two news items that show Volkswagen and BMW are taking the EV transitions seriously.

BMW Increases Efficiency Of Its iX1

BMW is expanding its all-electric lineup with the introduction of the BMW iX1 eDrive20. This new variant of the popular Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) offers an attractive design, spacious interior, and increased fully-electric range. Powered by an electric motor with a maximum output of 204 hp (with temporary boost), the iX1 has a range of 268 to 296 miles (provisional values according to WLTP).

The new BMW iX1 eDrive20 will be available for delivery in the UK starting November 2023. The Sport model will have a recommended retail price of £44,560, while the xLine trim will be available for £46,5600 and the M Sport for £49,310. Alongside the BMW iX1 xDrive30, the latest model will be manufactured at the BMW Group plant in Regensburg.

The new BMW iX1 eDrive20, like other current BMW electric vehicles, features the latest fifth-generation BMW eDrive technology. Its integrated drive unit on the front axle delivers a maximum torque of 247 Nm and an output of 204 hp. With an acceleration from 0 to 62 mph in 8.6 seconds and a top speed of 106 mph, this compact SAV offers impressive performance.

In addition to better performance and range, they’ve also managed to improve charging times. New software pre-conditions the battery for faster DCFC sessions ahead of time, and this can happen automatically based on the driver’s use of the navigation system.

The company also announced a number of improvements to electronics and navigation in the cockpit, but that’s something even ICE manufacturers are doing, so I’ll stop there.

VW Announces Improved 2024 ID.4 SUV

To some of us, the VW ID.4 can be a bit of a plague. Why? Because owners get free charging at Electrify America stations and tend to show up a LOT and stay for a LONG time. But, VW is making some improvements.

Volkswagen of America announced yesterday that the 2024 ID.4 electric compact SUV will receive significant upgrades for its 82 kWh battery models. These upgrades include a new performance drive unit for enhanced performance and an expected improvement in EPA-estimated range. Additionally, the ID.4 will feature an upgraded infotainment display, a new premium audio system, and other notable features.

The 2024 ID.4, being assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee, offers three trim levels: Standard/Pro, S, and S Plus. It comes with the choice of 62 kWh or 82 kWh batteries and is available in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive options.

The 2024 ID.4 82 kWh models come with a significant upgrade: a new performance drive unit. This results in improved horsepower and range compared to the previous model year. The rear-wheel-drive model now boasts 282 horsepower, while the all-wheel-drive model offers around 330 horsepower. This increase in power enhances acceleration and is expected to provide a greater range. EPA-estimated ranges for the 2024 ID.4 will be available closer to its market release.

But, as usual, big news (the better drive unit) has to be accompanied by window-dressing items to impress the average buyer who doesn’t know the difference between a drive unit and a lug nut.

Volkswagen also announced plans to continue to enhance the drive experience with upgraded technology in behind the firewall in all ID.4 models. The 62 kWh ID.4 models maintain a standard 12-inch infotainment display, while the 82 kWh ID.4 models feature an enhanced 12.9-inch display with backlit sliders. Additionally, these models now offer a more intuitive climate control interface and a revised infotainment menu. The car also comes with a new shifter position and a revised steering wheel layout.

The 2024 ID.4 prioritizes comfort and convenience. S models with the 82 kWh battery include ventilated front-row seats, while S Plus models are equipped with a premium Harman Kardon™ audio system featuring nine speakers, a subwoofer, and a 16-channel amplifier.

Furthermore, the 2024 ID.4 offers wheel upgrades. ID.4 Standard AWD models come with larger 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, while S Plus vehicles upgrade to 21-inch machined alloy wheels.

The 2024 ID.4 pricing will be announced closer to its on-sale date in early 2024. The 2023 ID.4 models qualify for the full potential Federal Tax Credit, up to $7,500. According to, Volkswagen is currently the sole foreign automaker with a battery electric vehicle eligible for the full Federal Tax Credit, thanks to local assembly and sourcing.

Now, if we could just get VW to make the ID.4 charge a little faster and do something to encourage drivers to leave at around 80%, they’d have it all wrapped up! 🙂

Featured image provided by VW.

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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


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