Can a country girl own an EV?
Until I met did this VW ID.4, I would probably have told you it just wouldn’t work. But spending a week with a car is usually a good way to see how it fits into your daily life, where the pain points are, and where all the cool features are located. So I really wanted to get the ID.4 to my house and spend a week in it. I wanted to see if this could be a practical car for a family like ours. We spend about $500 a month on fuel. And that’s with two very fuel-efficient vehicles. Having an EV in the garage could make a huge difference for us over time.
Getting Over Range Anxiety
Living in a rural area with zero charging stations has made me a little skeptical of the current focus on the electrification of vehicles. Sure, it’s cool for the urban folks who have charging options on every corner, but for those of us who live 50 miles from the nearest level 2 and 100 miles from the nearest level 3 charging stations, EVs have seemed really impractical.
About a year before I got to do this VW ID.4 review, my brother, who lives in town, bought an EV. He installed his own 240v charger in his garage, and he charges his Tesla Model S overnight and never has any issues with range anxiety. I’ve gotten to watch him travel across the US, commute to work daily, and spend the weekends going to the city and back. I’ve even gotten to drive his Tesla out here in the country, and I was impressed. So when I had the opportunity to drive a VW ID.4 at an event I was more excited than skeptical and I fell in love.
Our First Adventure in the ID.4
The day the vehicle was dropped off, I didn’t have time to charge it before meeting my brother so we could carpool to Dallas for a concert. He wanted to experience the ID.4, so we researched charging options along the way and made plans to stop for dinner while the car charged so that we could make it the rest of the way to Dallas and then top off the charge while we attended the concert.
We quickly ran into problems… the only charger between us and Dallas was an older level 2 charger that would take over 9 hours to give us a full charge. There was no way we were getting enough range over dinner to continue our journey.
Long story short, we left the car there to charge and carpooled with friends the rest of the evening. That experience left me discouraged. If I couldn’t charge quickly between here and Dallas how would an EV ever make sense for me?
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Having a Home Charger Makes All the Difference
Prior to the delivery of the ID.4, I had made arrangements with my brother to charge the vehicle at his house when I came to town since I only have 110v outlets in my garage. (That’s a 38-hour charge if you’re wondering.)
The 240v plug is supposed to charge the ID.4 in just 7.5 hours, which isn’t bad at all. But we soon discovered the vehicle didn’t come with the charging cable needed. So we researched and found an adapter online that would allow us to use my brother’s Tesla cord to charge the VW. And once it arrived, I was back in business! I dropped the car off one evening and picked it up the next morning.
That was the only charge I needed all week, and I drove the car back and forth several times. Once I realized how good the range was and how seldom I would actually need to charge the battery, I was hooked. Suddenly, I could see myself owning an EV if I had my own 240v plug in my own garage where I could plug in and top off every night. This could work!
Red Flags Addressed, andFree to Love Again.
Once my range anxiety was settled I fell right into my week with this beautiful compact SUV. I stroked the luxe white interior, smiled at the ID light that showed me the car was charging, and felt right at home in the minimal cockpit. Things like synced side view mirror adjustments, the driver’s display that is attached to and moves with the steering wheel, and the massaging seats made me feel like I was driving a car from the future. And I loved it all.
Our Favorite Features on the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4
Interior Space, Even For Tall People
\Our family spent a lot of time in the car during our VW ID.4 review. We put all three kids, including the 6′ tall teen and the baby in her big convertible seat across the back seat, and they had plenty of space. My 6′ 2″ tall husband was even able to drive with the baby’s seat behind him, which is a testament to the passenger space in the second row! Usually, if daddy is driving we have to move the baby’s seat to the other side of the car. My tall guys were impressed with not only the legroom but also the headroom. There is nothing compact about the interior of the ID.4. In fact, my boys lovingly called this car the Tardis “because it’s bigger on the inside.”
Cargo Space Fit for an SUV
The cargo space is incredible for such a small car. I really loved that it had a hard cover to hide your stuff and a moveable floor that would drop down a bit to give you just a little more space. There’s even a hidden compartment in the floor which is an excellent place to store small items like a first aid kit or your car’s charging cable.
The Panoramic Sun Roof
The solid single-pane panoramic moon roof was incredible. It not only let in a lot of light, but it made the car feel even roomier. And the retractable shade was just so smooth. We showed it off to everyone who wanted to look at the car — and there were lots of people lined up to see this beauty.
The buttons aren’t really buttons. Everything is just a touch or swipe (even the lights!) and most of the controls offer haptic feedback so you know you’ve been successful. It took me a few days to get used to the buttons on the steering wheel working this way, but I could really see loving them in the long term since everything would wipe clean so easily.
B Mode for Regenerative Braking
Personally, I loved the regenerative braking option – B mode, or battery mode. Turn the gear selector just past D to B to optimize regenerative braking, which feeds unused electricity back into the ID.4’s battery. You don’t have to use it; you can drive in D, which feels and responds like drive mode in any other car. My husband didn’t care for B mode. But I got really comfortable using it and enjoyed watching the battery charge as I coasted. Sure, one-pedal driving is a little different, but it becomes a fun game while you drive and try to extend your range!
A Posh Interior – with Massaging Seats
Most of all I loved the interior of the 1st Edition. I’m not sure how I’ll feel about the Pro and Pro S having solid black interiors. The white on the 1st Edition’s was just so beautiful. And the massaging power memory seats for both the driver and passenger? What a treat! Another really fun feature is the customizable ambient lighting with over 30 combinations of colors.
Volkswagen has always excelled at making a car for the people. Their minimalist designs, comfort and reliability win me over every time. And the ID.4 is no different. Unlike a Tesla which is expensive, overdone with gadgets and features you don’t really need, the ID-4 just might be the EV that tips the scales.
VW ID.4 Review: What You Need to Know
The 2021 ID-4’s MSRP starts at $39,995 for ID.4 Pro before potential $7,500 federal tax credit. It will be sold online. In fact, you can put $100 down now to reserve one.
The ID.4 will launch with rear-wheel drive 201-hp 82 kWh models; all-wheel-drive 82 kWh configuration will be available later this year. It will be $43,675 for the all-wheel-drive Pro. The next trim level is the Pro S which is $44,495 for RWD and $48,175 for AWD. The 1st Edition we drove was $43,995 (plus $1,195.00 destination fee) and is only available with rear-wheel drive.
The RWD models come with a single electric motor and the AWD vehicles have dual motors (one for the front axle, one for the back), which explains the price increase. These will also offer more torque, meaning a peppier off-the-line start.
You’ll get an EPA-estimated 250 miles of range on Pro S and 1st Edition RWD models. The numbers for the AWD models have not been published yet.
The ID-4 comes with three years of free charging on the Electrify America network. This means you have access to a network of over 550 fast-charging stations with more than 2,400 level 2 and level 3 chargers nationwide. The EA app is easy to use and will help you to find your nearest charging stations.
Volkswagen also has an app called Car-Net to help you manage your ID.4. You can use it to remotely view your car’s battery charge status and set the interior climate so the car will be cool when you are ready to leave.
Can it drive itself? Sort of. VW’s IQ.DRIVE advanced driver assistance technology paired with the smart infotainment system is pretty slick. You do need to keep a hand on the wheel as the system isn’t 100% hands-free, but the vehicle has excellent lane centering, adaptive cruise, and other self-driving features that are pretty exciting.
The ID.4 can be charged with both alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) fast-charging capability. All ID.4 models are equipped with a CCS (Combined Charging System)
socket, which allows for both home and public charging. If all you have at home is a 110v plug, you’ll be charging really slow. Like 30 hours for a full charge, but the 11 kW onboard charger allows the ID.4 to charge to full in as little as seven and a half hours on a 240v home or public Level 2 charger. At a public DC fast-charging station (level 3) the ID.4 is capable of going from 5% to 80% charged in about 38 minutes. I did not have an opportunity to try fast charging, but I wish I had. That would have been incredible to see.
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Yes, This Country Girl Could Love an EV
After a week, I feel very confident in saying an EV is an option for us. We would need to have a 240v power source installed in our garage, but that isn’t outrageous or hard. It’s the same kind of outlet your drier plugs into, and I’ve learned that a lot of larger power tools use them too. So a garage is a good place to have one. And I know now that if I plugged the car in whenever I was at home I would never have to worry about range anxiety for local commutes. Sure I’d need to map out charging stations if I traveled further than Dallas and back, but urban areas have plenty of them and they’re usually in convenient locations.
Related Reading: When the VW ID.4 Rolls Out, This Car Will Be Fun to Buy
Disclosure: VW loaned me this car for the purpose of this review. All experiences, thoughts, and opinions are my own.