Since mid-2021 the Volkswagen (VW) ID.4 has been available on the US market. The ID.4 is intended to be a mass-market vehicle for VW, targeting the lucrative and growing market of compact SUVs. During the reveal event seen below VW emphasized the towing capabilities of the ID.4 at 2,700 lbs. So how does the ID.4 compare to other electric tow cars? VW has stated the ID.4 is not intended to compete with the Tesla Model Y, being a cheaper alternative to the Tesla, but is that really the case?
Key VW ID.4 Specs
- Official Towing Capacity – 2,700 lbs (AWD variants only)
- Availability – Mid 2022
- Price – Starting $43,675 (AWD Pro) > $48,175 (AWD Pro S)
- EPA Range – 240 miles (AWD Pro S) > 249 miles (AWD Pro)
- Estimated Towing Range (50%) – 120 miles (AWD Pro S) > 125 miles (AWD Pro)
- Maximum Charge Rate – 125 kW (Compatible DC Fast Charger)
VW ID.4 HP & Torque
- AWD Pro – AWD with 295
- AWD Pro S – AWD with 302 HP, torque output currently unknown
VW ID.4 Towing Capabilities
I want to point out that are cheaper variants of the ID.4 coming which I have not listed above. The reason is, I specifically want to focus on electric cars which can tow, and as far as I can tell, the RWD variant of the ID.4 has not been given a tow rating in the US, though some media outlets seem to be implying as such.
However, I spent some time browsing VW.com on the ID.4 order page and it does appear only AWD versions will be offered with an official tow rating from VW.
Granted, as stated in the screenshot from the VW website above, specifications may change. Therefore, if VW does give the cheaper/RWD versions of the ID.4 a tow rating, either the 2,700 lbs of the Pro AWD versions or below, I’ll update this page to reflect that.
That aside, it is good to see that VW has considered the towing capabilities the car can provide, and towing was featured quite prominently in the reveal event seen below.
So if you weren’t aware, in 2015 VW dropped a boo-boo and got caught up in the Dieselgate debacle, not being entirely honest with test results on the emissions their internal combustion engine cars were producing. I should state, VW were/are not the only car manufacturer to have tried such misleading efforts.
The reason I bring up Dieselgate is really that’s the reason the ID.4 and other MEB platform based VW electric cars are coming onto the market now.
Sure, VW like other established automobile manufacturers would have eventually got into the electric car game. Let’s just say that Dieselgate (and regulators) gave them a bit of a push to get going with their EV program sooner rather than later.
Old Habits Die Hard
What did amuse me watching the ID.4 reveal was before VW started to discuss the all-electric ID.4 they spent the time to promote their internal combustion compact SUV Atlas with one of their ‘brand ambassadors’.
Explaining how great a V6 engined crossover is during the global reveal to tell everyone VW is serious about EV’s just made me laugh.
Don’t get me wrong, VW is now serious about EV’s and they are putting huge amounts of money into EV research/development and manufacturing. It’s just when I watched that promotion of the V6 Atlas, I thought to myself, ‘old habits die hard’.
VW ID.4 Competition (As An Electric Tow Car)
Now, in the reveal event, VW was very keen to point out that the ID.4 is ‘best in class’, making reference to several ICE compact SUVs from Toyota, Honda etc. However, they made no comparisons/references to any other electric vehicle, and VW has implied the ID.4 is not intended to compete against the Tesla Model Y, a fellow all-electric hatchback that can tow.
VW would state that the ID.4 may not have the range/features of the Tesla Model Y because its a cheaper more affordable car, which is true, sort of. Again, I’m focusing on this from a towing perspective, therefore I’m not referring to the cheapest versions of the ID.4. I’m interested in that 2,700 lb towing capacity currently only found on the AWD versions.
So if we look at the ID.4 AWD Pro S, which has a starting price of $48,675. Well, the Tesla Model Y Long Range starts at $51,990. The ID.4 AWD Pro S has a towing capacity of 2,700 lbs and an estimated range towing of around 120 miles (50% guestimate).
The Tesla Model Y Long-Range can tow 3,500 lbs and has an estimated range towing of around 163 miles (50% guestimate). Therefore, the Model Y would appear to be in competition with the ID.4 versions which can tow.
First Impressions/Review Of The VW ID.4
There are several reviews out there on the VW ID.4. However, I think the most important video to reference on the ID.4 is to do with the rapid charging and the Electrify America network, which was actually set up by VW post Dieselgate.
The video below from Jason at Engineering Explained shows his issues and the unnecessary complication of rapid charging the ID.4. As when towing you are twice as likely (due to the 50% range loss when towing) to need to rapid charge, how the ID.4 performs when charging and the experience, in general, is very important.
Now, as I discuss in my article on the VW ID.4 on electrictowcars.co.uk, in the UK the reviews of the ID.4 show that its software/infotainment is not the cars best feature by any means. Well, if you are using the car to choose suitable charging stops as Jason shows in the video above you may very well (and justifiably) be disappointed by the results.
How on earth is the ID.4 when planning a route now choosing the rapid chargers of its own rapid charging network (Electrify America)?! I’m aware the VW is working on addressing their software issues etc, but the reality is the ID.4 was not ready for market when the car was delivered to the first customers.
My Thoughts On The VW ID.4…
First off, competition is good, plain and simple. While Tesla may currently lead the game when it comes to electric vehicles, there is a lot that VW can bring to the table to compete. Large scale vehicle manufacturing and quality control are hard things to master as Tesla is now finding out. VW does have the experience to bring electric cars to the masses.
That being said, and while VW doesn’t really appear to want the ID.4 to be compared against the Tesla Model Y, when it comes to electric tow cars they really are closely comparable on the AWD ID.4 variants which are the only models with an official towing capacity. When it comes to towing, the ID.4 is down on power, range and rapid charging rate against the Tesla Model Y, however, it is a little bit cheaper.