Since the coronavirus outbreak curtailed this year’s Geneva auto show, we’re going to have to wait a while longer to take an up-close-and-personal look at Volkswagen’s new electric crossover. The novel infectious pathogen might be racking up a bodycount of trade shows around the world, but it can’t stop all the fun, so VW took to a webcast in the early hours of Tuesday morning to show off its new wares online. The main reveal planned for the show was the new mk.8 Golf GTI, but we showed you that yesterday. Of even more interest to us here at Ars is our best look yet at the ID.4, an electric crossover that will be the brand’s first long-range battery EV for sale in the US.
In fact, this is the first official confirmation that the compact electric crossover will be called the ID.4—until now, VW has just referred to it as the production version of the ID Crozz concept car. But when the first ID—a Europe-only hatchback that we wish would come over here, too—was launched with the name ID.3, it wasn’t rocket science to extrapolate out across the future range. (At last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, we started to exasperate VW’s executives by continually referring to the ID Space Vizzion electric wagon as the ID.5 wagon, although that may only prove that no one likes a wise guy.)
I’ve included some images of the ID Crozz concept in the gallery to compare with the images VW has shared of the ID.4 prototype, which illustrate the crossover’s path to production. The headlights and taillights have had to change because the ID.4 will be sold in Europe, the US, and China, and therefore must meet the various road legality regulations. There are slightly larger cooling grilles at the front, and I’d bet that the vertical vents below the headlights have a greater role to play in channeling air at speed along the side of the car to reduce drag and increase range efficiency.
There are some slightly larger changes, too. At the back, the D pillar is much more upright on the production ID.4, which should pay dividends in terms of rear cargo room. VW has employed the same idea Ford’s designers used with the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover by painting part of the side rail black—it’s a simple but effective visual trick.
The biggest change is obviously the doors—on the ID Crozz, the rear door opens more like a sliding minivan door and there’s no B pillar to impede access to the interior. The production ID.4 gets completely conventional doors (and normal door handles, too) by the looks of it.
ID.4 production begins sometime later this year at VW’s Zwickau factory, with domestic US production beginning in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 2022. At this point, we expect the first US deliveries to happen in Q1 2021; when we asked VW North America COO Johan de Nysschen about the progress of the crossover last month, he told us that VW needs “to get the ID.3 introduced and launched without creating distraction with the news of the next car.”
One possible reason for the delay could be a touch of range anxiety. Rightly or wrongly, the car buying market looks at a battery EV’s range as the most important discriminator when considering a potential purchase, and as de Nysschen told us in February, “when the market wants 300 miles, it’s no good offering them 150.” VW has good reason to be worried—the EPA may well have heavily damaged the Porsche Taycan’s curb appeal with an official energy consumption rating that’s far more conservative than real world use would suggest (even Electrek agrees, which should tell you something).
Listing image by Volkswagen