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New Volkswagen ID 4 electric SUV production begins

22 August 2020 - autocar

New Volkswagen ID 4 electric SUV production begins

First examples of second model in ID line-up roll off production lines ahead of September launch

Production of the Volkswagen ID 4 electric crossover has begun at the firm's Zwickau factory in Germany ahead of its official launch late next month.

The compact SUV, which will also be built at Volkswagen factories in the US and China, is the second machine built on the Volkswagen Group's MEB electric platform, following the recently launched ID 3 hatchback.

Volkswagen brand boss Ralf Brandstätter was present to watch the first series-production ID 4s emerge from the line.

The ID 4 will initially be offered with rear-wheel drive and a range of up to 311 miles. Volkswagen says production of the SUV began on time, despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus.

Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen board member for e-mobility, said: “Given the major societal challenges of recent months, the successful start of ID 4 series production is an exceptional achievement.” 

Zwickau was previously home to the Passat. Volkswagen has spent €1.2 billion (£1.1bn) converting it to house an MEB-platform production line with an initial capacity of around 300,000 vehicles.

Pre-production of the ID 4 has also begun at Volkswagen's factory in Anting, China, and production is due to begin in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 2022.

While Volkswagen has yet to officially reveal the ID 4, it has previously been seen undisguised. The images were contained in filings to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) as part of documents that all firms must submit to gain type approval for new models in China.

The images show how the ID 4 will look in its production bodywork and confirm that, as expected, it will share similar design features and traits with the ID 3. The documents also confirm that the SUV will be 4592mm long, 1852mm wide and 1629mm high, with a wheelbase of 2765mm. Initially, the Chinese model will feature the 201bhp powertrain.

The ID 4 was due to be launched at this year's New York motor show, but after that show was postponed due to the pandemic, it's expected to take place in the next few months.

The ID 4 will initially be sold with a single electric motor and rear-wheel drive, with a more powerful twin-motor four-wheel drive layout set to be offered within the first 12 months of sales, according to Brandstätter.

As suggested by the ID Crozz concept that the ID 4 is based on, the rear-wheel-drive model is expected to offer up to 201bhp and 229lb ft of torque from its rear-mounted electric motor. The four-wheel-drive model will add a front-mounted motor with an additional 101bhp and 103lb ft, taking its overall output to 302bhp and 332lb ft.

The ID 4 will offered with a range of different battery options, the largest of which, a rumoured 83kWh unit, will offer a range of up to 311 miles on the WLTP test cycle.

It will also offer rapid-charging capability that will allow its battery to be charged to an 80% state of charge within 30mins on a 125-150kW system.

There will be two versions of the ID 4: a standard model and a coupé-SUV in the vein of the original concept, expected to be named the ID 5. This will be revealed at a later date.

"As early as 2020, we aim to sell 100,000 all-electric Volkswagens [per year]," said Volkswagen Group chairman Herbert Diess at the Crozz concept's 2017 unveiling. "But this is just the beginning. By 2025, annual sales could increase tenfold to one million vehicles."

The ID 4 and ID 5 aim to combine the dynamic lines of a modern-day sports car with the all-terrain capability of a dedicated off-roader. They're said to offer interior space on a par with the Tiguan Allspace, a long-wheelbase version of Volkswagen's best-selling SUV model.

The ID Crozz concept is 4625mm long, 1891mm wide and 1609mm tall, putting it in between the five-seat Tiguan and seven-seat Tiguan Allspace in terms of dimensions. The wheelbase is 2773mm.

The MEB-based ID Crozz features two electric motors – one mounted within the front axle, and one at the rear - powered by an 83kWh lithium ion battery housed within the floor structure. The front electric motor sends its 101bhp and 103lb ft to the front wheels. The rear unit delivers 201bhp and 228lb ft to the rear wheels, giving the car a combined output of 302bhp and 332lb ft of torque.

This is just under 100bhp more than the powertrain used by the rear-wheel-drive ID hatchback, intended to offset a likely weight increase. The ID 4 is set to have a range of more than 311 miles, with no specific figure yet quoted. No performance figures have been revealed, though VW says it intends limiting the top speed to 112mph.

With the car's large battery mounted low down within the floor structure and the electric motors also housed within the axle assemblies front and rear, VW also claims it possesses a front-to-rear weight distribution of 48:52. VW officials have talked up the dynamic qualities, suggesting the new platform and chassis provide a "large spread between handling and comfort".

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