VW ID.4 becomes first production electric car to complete 1,350 km off-road race
A specially prepared version of Volkswagen’s hugely popular ID.4 electric SUV completed the National Off-Road Racing Association’s (NORRA) Mexican 1000 Race in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, the first production electric vehicle to cover the 1350 kilometers (840 mile race).
Driven by professional driver and Volkswagen brand ambassador Tanner Foust – who was also involved in modifying the production ID.4 1st RWD Edition with Rhus Millen Racing for off-road use – the ID.4 ran its original powertrain and 82 kWh battery pack with modified off-road suspension and a racing interior.
Out of 90 cars and trucks entered in the NORRA 1000, Tanner Foust and the ID.4 were one of the 64 vehicles to complete the entire race with stages of 50 to 270 km. The ID.4 was able to recharge mainly using a portable generator powered by biofuel connected to a 50 kW charger.
There have been a few instances, however, where the loader was not available for the intended transit between stages where the ID.4 was towed flat behind a pursuit vehicle for a short distance, using par braking. recovery to increase autonomy.
“It was everything we hoped for,” said Tanner Foust. “The course was difficult, but the ID.4 was more than up to the tasks we asked him to do. It demonstrates the real potential of EV technology to make an impact in all kinds of areas that we are only just beginning to explore. “
As one can imagine during a 1350 kilometer race through the desert terrain of Baja, Mexico, the terrain and conditions were demanding, but the ID.4 finished the race with its 201 horsepower electric motor, its battery and its drive systems.
Foust and the ID.4 were no contenders for the podiums, finishing close to the back of the finisher field and more than 22 hours behind the leader. But winning the race was never considered as the top three were heavily equipped off-road buggies.
Other changes to the ID.4 for racing included a reworked suspension package with rally-style coil-sprung struts on all four wheels and tubular lower control arms up front and lower arms. back in box. The vehicle’s radiator was also raised several inches to improve approach angles and cooling capacity, while additional 3/8 inch steel skid plates were added to the undercarriage.
And, at the end of the race, the only damage the ID.4 suffered, despite the demanding conditions in the Baja region, was a few cosmetic injuries to the rear bumper.
All of the modified ID.4’s major power, battery and control systems performed as expected, operating primarily in the “B” level battery regeneration mode with the original traction on.
“It was an exciting test of ID.4 technology as no other production-based electric vehicle had ever participated in this event, let alone completed it.” says Scott Keogh, President and CEO of Volkswagen of America.
“Kudos to our team for demonstrating that EVs can withstand extreme environments and showing just how fun EVs can be. The ID.4 could certainly be the Baja Bug of the Electric Age.