Mountain Wheels: Volkswagen’s ID 4 EV all-wheel-drive edition stops skating

With almost 300 horsepower and an additional electric motor driving its front wheels, the more user-friendly all-season rendering of the Volkswagen id.4 EV becomes practical.
Andy Stonehouse / Courtesy photo

I had an aha moment with the new electronic all-wheel-drive version of the equally new Volkswagen id.4 Pro S electric crossover, which could help spur it to become the long-awaited mass-market alternative to Tesla products.

That is, given the seasonal scarcity of actual Thanksgiving Day snow on Lookout Mountain above Golden, the roads ended up with an impenetrable 2-inch sheet of ice in the shady corners. . (I guess the Denver Parks plow drivers have taken their leave.)

I haven’t driven an electric vehicle yet which, other than maybe a version of the Prius AWD with better tires, didn’t feel like it was going to instantly explode the minute it hit the ice or the snow.

The fairly revolutionary but still very futuristic id.4, unique in that it is an almost full-size family vehicle, just a little smaller than the current Tiguan crossover, surprised me a lot because it has effortlessly managed this all-purpose ice cream.

There were indeed half a dozen vehicles in the ditch, tow trucks, state soldiers, everything. I sailed with a soundtrack of that ridiculous “Frankenstein” music that electric cars play to warn pedestrians of their presence, regardless of the world – even on those super steep hairpin bends under Buffalo Bill’s grave .

The magic here is twofold and could make mountaineers with regular snowfall to consider the VW, for real.

First, the AWD, 4,888-pound version of the automobile – base priced at $ 48,175 for the premium Statement edition, and $ 1,500 more than the one with 20-inch wheels and all-season tires. , a black roof and a host of silver accents – receives an additional electric motor driving the front axle.

This brings the total power to 295 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque, and the non-mechanical power up front can be applied instantly, unlike the hold response of traditional all-wheel-drive systems.

I even displayed a “pull” mode setting on the id.4 screen to give it the best combination. Once again, zero problems. No wheel spin, no slippage, just weird traction, both uphill and in the corners.

The second part of the magic, which you can use even on your non-electric vehicle, was a set of very impressive all-season tires. Bridgestone Alenza Sports offered a comfortable and sporty ride on dry roads and performed like fly paper on that icy ice.

This makes the id.4 the electric vehicle that tipped the scales towards mass market success, as it recently won the Save the Planet award from online reviews and even entered the very gnarly all-round race. Rebel Rally terrain, earlier this year. year?

My opinion so far is that EV owners are curious people, who take pride in their vehicle’s quirks and, frankly, their exclusivity. They already have dedicated home charging systems, and they apparently spend hours before any trip out of town plotting routes, calling ahead to check the status of the charging station, and then driving the occasional drive. in winter with the heating off to maximize the range of their vehicle. .

This all holds true for id.4 if you take the adventurous steps of making more than a 40 mile trip. My Thanksgiving trip was a quick buzz to the Loveland ski area, exactly 41 miles uphill from my house. Temperatures were above freezing so I didn’t have to blow the heat and didn’t have a family of four with me.

I used about a third of the 82kWh battery reserve to drive to Loveland, where there are no public chargers, and I was worried that my total “half-tank” range was dropping to. A paltry 85 miles, although a fully loaded vehicle says it has a range of 284 miles.

On the descent, of course, it used virtually no electricity, and a visit (one of several) to the Electrify America charging stations on the Front Range allowed it to charge as much as I was prepared to wait. VW’s agreement allows owners to recharge for free for three years with this electricity supplier. And I heard that Walmart’s EA station in Frisco has been fixed because it’s often out of service.

Beyond that, it’s still a carnival experience inside, although the id.4 is roomy and has 64.2 cubic feet of cargo storage with the rear seats down. The shift lever inspired by the 1960s lunar lander is baffling, and the peculiarities of an unpredictable lane-keeping system with programmable automatic climate controls will, I imagine, make more sense to a permanent user. And it’s never really clear whether the car is on or off.

Andy Stonehouse

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