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Clean Vehicles

Volkswagen Premieres Its First All-Electric SUV

Images from Volkswagen’s U.S. press release

Volkswagen recently debuted ID.4–the automaker’s first all-electric SUV. According to the release, ID.4 will last an estimated 250 miles per charge and starts at $39,995. The Wolfsburg, Germany-based company’s U.S. operations are based out of Herndon, Virginia.

Images from Volkswagen’s U.S. press release

“The ID.4 electric compact SUV is based on the modular electric drive architecture (MEB). While it is the brand’s newest platform, it also represents a return to Volkswagen’s roots, with the electric motor located at the rear, just like the original Beetle,” the company said in a U.S. press release.

Preorders for the electric vehicle (EV) are already available and Volkswagen said a 50-state launch is slated for early next year. The automaker said in the release that ID.4 will be imported from its Zwickau, Germany, factory until 2022 when an $800 million expansion of Volkswagen’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory has concluded. The company’s Chattanooga factory currently employees about 3,800 people, according to the automaker.

The 5.3-inch ID.Cockpit (digital driver display) replaces the traditional instrument cluster and is operated with touch-sensitive controls on the leather-wrapped multifunction heated steering wheel.

Last January, Volkswagen declared Chattanooga as its North American base for EV operations, confirming that work had begun on an $800 million plant expansion that it estimated would create 1,000 additional jobs. The company confirmed in its recent press release that after production has begun in the U.S., it plans to offer a reduced domestic price of around $35,000.

“EV production at the site will begin in 2022. Chattanooga will be the first dedicated location in North America for production of a vehicle using Volkswagen’s modular electric toolkit chassis, or MEB,” the company said in a 2019 U.S. press release

“The US is one of the most important locations for us and producing electric cars in Chattanooga is a key part of our growth strategy in North America,” said CEO of Volkswagen AG Dr. Herbert Diess.

The vehicle’s exterior features an aerodynamic design with backward-flowing LED headlights and “front to back, clean, flowing lines” that “alternate with crisp edges for a refined, yet futuristic look,” the press release explains. An upgraded Statement package version of the vehicle even features a glowing Volkswagen logo and illuminated lines that extend from it. Its futuristic interior consists of features like a 10-inch touchscreen display and “ID. Light—a light strip below the windshield to support drivers in a host of situations with intuitive lighting effects in different colors and sound prompts,”

Like the platform, the design of ID.4 represents a move towards the future with a nod to the past. At the front, the Volkswagen logo is able to be positioned centrally because there is no radiator grille, as it was on the Beetle. © 2020 Copyright Volkswagen US Media Site

“This is truly a breathtaking global car,” Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said during a pre-reveal media briefing. “I think the upside of that is it’s giving us an awful lot of the scaling effects that we need, which of course is giving us the pricing power and we see a very strong correlation between pricing and adoption to electric vehicles.”

The release of ID.4 comes five years after Volkswagen was embroiled in a major emissions scandal that ultimately cost the company “nearly $35 billion in settlement fees and fines,” according to The Verge.

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