Volkswagen has unveiled the exterior design of its first all-electric SUV, the ID.4. The vehicle will initially be built in Europe and China, but will later be produced in the U.S.
“The ID.4 represents an electric design evolution,” said Klaus Zyciora, head of design for Volkswagen Group, who designed the ID.4. “Its exterior design is clean, flowing and powerful. It appears strong and self-confident in a new way. This is mainly due to the seamless, aerodynamic style of our electric vehicle family, which we have transferred to the SUV segment for the first time with the ID.4.”
The design is also functional, providing aerodynamics that will be able to achieve a drag coefficient of 0.28, a key factor in the electric vehicle’s range that is expected to reach more than 310 miles. The new SUV will initially be launched with rear-wheel drive, and an all-wheel drive variant will follow at a later date. The high-voltage battery is positioned in the underbelly to create a low center of gravity for optimal driving dynamics, as well as well-balanced weight distribution.
The ID.4 is part of Volkswagen’s “Transform 2025+” strategy, which includes a commitment by Volkswagen to invest 11 billion euros in electric mobility by 2024. As the first electric SUV, the ID.4 is the second model based on the new modular electric drive matrix, following the ID.3.
Volkswagen of America Inc. is an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America and a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, with headquarters in Herndon, Virginia. The company’s manufacturing facility is in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as is the Engineering and Planning Center, which will soon feature a high-voltage laboratory designed to develop and test electric vehicle cells and battery packs for upcoming models assembled in the United States.
“There are two ways that auto companies approach the development of electric vehicle batteries,” said Wolfgang Maluche, vice president of engineering at Volkswagen of America. “A lot of them will farm out the development and testing of batteries to another company, and some will actually do the work of developing and testing in-house. We are doing the latter.”
The Engineering and Planning Center plans to break ground on the lab soon, with the goal of being fully operational by 2021. The lab will feature cutting-edge equipment, including pressure testers, explosion-rated climate chambers and a custom multi-axis shaker table designed to test the integrity of vehicle components in some of the roughest conditions they might face on the road.
Beyond the tools, the lab will be built to LEED standards for environmental impacts, through steps such as a battery-to-grid connection that sends unused energy back to utilities. “This lab was planned to be as sustainable as possible,” said Maluche.