2021 Volkswagen ID.4 AWD Pro S in Red

With the MEB architecture, Volkswagen is returning to its roots—the primary electric motor is located at the rear, just like the original Beetle. The motor is located above the rear axle, just in front of the centerline of the wheels, and transfers its torque to a two-stage single-speed gearbox. It is ideally placed for agile handling and traction, and nearly silent. In fact, it’s so quiet that a synthetic sound is generated up to speeds of about 20 mph to aid pedestrian and cyclist awareness. The AC permanent-magnet synchronous motor puts out 201 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque that is available instantly.

One of the main strengths of the permanent magnet synchronous motor is its efficiency—well above 90 percent in almost all driving situations. During the manufacturing process, Volkswagen uses a complex piece of technology known as a hairpin winding: the stator’s coils are made from square copper wires, which after bending, are visually similar to hairpins. This hairpin winding technique enables the wires to be packed more tightly. As result, there is more copper in the stator—power and torque are increased, while cooling is more efficient. The electric drive unit only weighs about 200 pounds, including the motor, gearbox and power and control electronics for the electric drive, and fits into a duffle bag. The electric drive, the battery system and other essential components of the ID.4 are produced by the Volkswagen Group Components sites in Kassel, Braunschweig and Salzgitter, Germany.

The ID.4 AWD adds an asynchronous electric motor on the front axle. The front unit has a maximum output of 107 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. Together, the system has a maximum output of 295 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque. With its instantly available torque, the ID.4 AWD Pro can reach 60 mph from a standstill in 5.4 seconds, according to independently verified testing. Unlike a traditional all-wheel-drive system, there are no mechanical links between the axles. Each motor connects to the wheels through a differential and a single-speed gearbox.

The variable all-wheel-drive system offers several benefits over traditional mechanical set-ups. The rear motor handles standard driving situations, leaving the front motor to engage only as needed, such as when the ID.4 senses wheelspin at any corner. The motors can react faster than any combustion engine—within a few hundredths of a second—so that the driver never notices the changes.

The ID.4 is equipped with an 82kWh (gross) battery pack. For rear-wheel-drive models, the EPA-estimated range on a single charge is 260 miles for the Pro model and 250 miles for the Pro S and 1st Edition models. The EPA-estimated fuel economy for ID.4 Pro is 107 MPGe in city driving; 91 MPGe in highway driving, and 99 MPGe in combined city/highway driving. The EPA-estimated fuel economy for the Pro S and 1st Edition models is 104 MPGe for city driving; highway driving is rated at 89 MPGe, and combined city/highway at 97 MPGe.

All-wheel drive models have an EPA-estimated range of 249 miles for the AWD Pro and 240 miles for the AWD Pro S. The EPA-estimated fuel economy for ID.4 AWD Pro is 102 MPGe in city driving; 90 MPGe in highway driving, and 97 MPGe in combined city/highway driving. The EPA-estimated fuel economy for the AWD Pro S is 98 MPGe for city driving; highway driving is rated at 88 MPGe, and combined city/highway at 93 MPGe.

The ID.4 can provide as much as $4,000 in estimated fuel cost savings over five years compared to the average gas vehicle.

The battery is comprised of 288 pouch cells in 12 modules. It is positioned in the underbody to create a low center of gravity for optimal driving dynamics as well as extremely well-balanced weight distribution and weighs 1,087 pounds.

Around a fifth of the battery’s weight is accounted for by the housing. This is a scalable aluminum construction whose interior framework is made from extruded and pressure-cast profiles. The housing is bolted to the frame, helping to improve bodyshell rigidity. A strong all-round frame made of extruded aluminum sections protects the battery system against damage in the event of an accident, and the battery is also disabled if the vehicle is involved in a serious accident. A replaceable aluminum underbody panel protects the battery against damage from the road.

The temperature of the battery modules is controlled using a floor plate with built-in water channels. The thermal management system keeps the battery in the ideal temperature range of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit at all times, benefiting power output, fast DC charging, and the battery service life.

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