Volkswagen ID.4: God himself could be interested in this fully electric VW
According to the website catholic.org, repentance is defined as “repentance, a clear and decisive rejection of the sin committed, coupled with a determination not to commit it again, out of the love one has for God and which is born again in repentance. Determining to avoid these sins in the future is a sure sign that your grief is real and authentic. This does not mean that a promise never to fall into sin is necessary. A determination to try to avoid the near opportunities of sin is enough for true repentance. God’s grace, combined with the intention to correct your life, will empower you to resist and overcome temptations in the future. “
The current conversion of the Volkswagen Group to electric cars – to build around 1.5 million by 2025 and 22 million by 2030 – is, in my opinion, an act of penance for the great sin of dieselgate. The company says its electric cars will be “net carbon neutral,” which means that they take into account the supply chain (specifically the manufacture and replacement of all of those lithium-ion and cobalt batteries) and the energy used to produce and distribute them. It is independently checked by TÜV Nord, the technical service provider, and (presumably) not manipulated.
Sounds hopeful, but there’s a lot to live by, and sponsoring the Euros is just one of the many things VW has to do to whiten its reputation. I’m not sure what car God drives, but if he’d followed all of the official and industry-specific advice a few years ago, as so many did, he might have gotten into a VW Passat TDI, the kind of car that the Almighty would probably drive then, in SE trim – but only to find out later that he had been fooled by the CO emissions. His anger would be fair and he would probably take the Kia next time.
But maybe not. He may be interested in the new, all-electric, battery-powered ID.4, the second in the new line of VW cars. The first was the very appealing ID.3, the Golf alternative that looks similar to a Golf to make you think it’s a VW, but different enough to suggest it is doing something different. The ID.4 is the elongated, bulkier, bigger brother of the ID.3. It’s a compact SUV if you will, although there is no off-road capability (an all-wheel drive version comes later, but it’s not really suitable for rough terrain). In due course, a cheaper version with a lower range will also be offered (200 or so miles versus 250 to 300 miles on the starting model).
At its core, the ID.4 is less of a car and more of a living room on wheels. And it is also a very finely furnished living room. Unlike the traditional dark black and gray of past VWs, ID.3 and ID.4 are bright and light, soft pastel tones and soft surfaces and, in their quiet way, revolutionary. There’s no parking brake anymore (you have to dig deep into the menus to find something like that) and the purely automatic controls for the transmission have been moved from a stick on the floor to a little lever on the right and above the steering wheel, and they work surprisingly good.
It has keyless entry and keyless ignition and of course has all of the semi-autonomous driving aids customers have come to expect these days – adjustable cruise control, lane assistant (where it corrects the steering if you ever get off track plus the day) to be with others To “talk” to vehicles and the road infrastructure (e.g. warning of dangers in the vicinity). It even makes a special car-like sound to alert other road users to your otherwise silent presence. The small dashboard screen has the bare minimum of information if I could have wished for a little more. The larger infotainment and operating screen (10 inch diameter) is one of the new VW group designs with slide controls for the heating control. It works very well when stationary, but much less when on the move. In fact, while a bit extreme, I’d say it was borderline dangerous, although the handy button controls on the steering wheel should keep you out of trouble. A couple of old-fashioned “shortcut” buttons would help the driver concentrate better on the road.
Like all electric cars, the ID.4 jerks the accelerator pedal when it starts, but it usually takes the power surge. As you gain speed the acceleration becomes less dramatic and it takes 8.5 seconds to reach 60 mph; The top speed is kept below the barrel, which helps the batteries maintain their charge. With 2.1 tons, the ID.4 is a very heavy thing even for a bloated modern car and requires a lot of battery charge to achieve its real range of around 250 to 300 miles (depending on temperature, driving style, etc.). This should ease any range anxiety, and if you’re on a long journey it will take about 40 minutes to recharge after the first run. At this point, you should take a break anyway.
It’s a lovely place to be in the future, and the cabin is tasteful and modern through and through; but the ID.4 is anything but beautiful to look at, with its slaby sides and rather inconspicuous lines. It also feels hard to drive in a way that some electric cars avoid (like the new, lightweight Fiat 500 electric).
As a penalty for dieselgate, the VW ID.4 is definitely an acceptable offer. There are in-house competitors to the ID.3 and ID.4 like the Audi e-tron (a bit more expensive and conventional), the Skoda Enyaq and the upcoming Seat el-Born, but the Koreans still have the best mix of ability and value. As I said, I would advise God to buy a Kia e-Niro, and if you wait a little longer, you might be impressed by the new Hyundai Ionia 5 and Nissan Ariya, which make the ID.4 look pretty old. The entry-level electric Citroen e-C4 is also worth a look as it is below the government’s new list price threshold of £ 35,000 for the zero-emission car subsidy. Other competitors are the Polestar 2 and of course the Tesla 3.
Electric cars are doing amazingly thanks to the fact that companies like VW are meeting the challenge of official gas and diesel sales planning targets, but there is still a cost to you – the extra £ 10,000 you have to pay for one electric model above its combustion equivalent. This is your repentance as it happens.