By launching the ID.4, Volkswagen wants to enter the seething electric SUV segment, where it will face the Tesla Model Y. Despite a range difference, Volkswagen dares to compare. If you go looking for trouble you’ll find it ?
In its expansion plan, Tesla unveiled the Model Y, the high-wheeled translation of the Model 3. Volkswagen is following almost the same trajectory on the other side of the Atlantic: after the compact sedan ID.3, Wolfsburg is launching the ‘ID.4, one of the first SUV executions on the MEB platform. While the Tesla Model Y is already on the road in the United States, it will arrive in Europe from mid-2021, roughly around the same time as the Volkswagen ID. 4. Beyond this alignment of the planets, the two electric SUVs will compete head-on.
At first glance, this is certainly yet another comparison between the Tesla benchmark and one of the models from the rest of the automobile production. But it is clear that, despite official speeches and those of a handful of irreducible, the Californian firm is still the point of reference. And this even on the tables of research and development departments of manufacturers around the globe. Although it claims otherwise, Volkswagen is no exception. Proof of this is with an internal document unveiled on the Reddit forum ahead of the presentation of the German SUV, which displays the axes of comparison of the Volkswagen ID.4 with the Tesla Model Y.
Habitability: a Model Y more flexible, but more bulky
With a length of 4.58 meters against 4.75 meters for the Californian competitor, the Volkswagen ID.4 displays almost 17 cm less. This deficit is also found in the wheelbase, where the German’s 2.77 meters are shorter by around 12 cm. However, Volkswagen puts forward a more generous interior space of 6 cm. It’s not enough to claim a victory and it will take some judgment. These first sketches, however, allow us to understand the driving and rear seat positions, where the passengers in the ID.4 seem barely more reclined than in a Model Y.
Cargo volume is a particularly important factor in terms of livability and in this game, the Tesla Model Y is ruthless with the competition: to its 1.925 liters in the trunk (with the bench folded down in the five-seater version), it also adds a 425 liter frunk. The Volkswagen is satisfied only with its trunk which can oscillate from 543 liters to 1,575 liters with the second row flat. The latter is in a 2 / 3-1 / 3 configuration while each seat can be independently manipulated in the Model Y.
Both SUVs come standard with five seats. While the ID.4 will never be available in a seven-seater version (we will have to wait for the ID.6), the Model Y will also have the option of two additional seats as an option at a price of € 3,200. However, this last row will be installed in the trunk and rearward facing. This is probably not the most practical configuration, but it has the advantage of existing to meet some rare daily needs for some.
Equipment: all standard options depending on the version
Unsurprisingly, the Tesla Model Y will play the usual card with generous standard equipment. Heated seats, 14 HP audio system, panoramic glass roof, four USB ports, two docking stations for smartphones, heated mirrors or LED lighting are mixed in. Connectivity will not be forgotten with a one-year subscription to the Premium Connectivity service. So the only options are a few body liveries, the tow bar and the autonomous driving capability system.
The Volkswagen ID.4 retains a more traditional approach and it will be necessary to climb in range to benefit from additional equipment. In its 1st entry-level configuration, it does not compare with the Model Y. The 1st Max version comes a little closer with a similar endowment. Here it has a semi-autonomous driving assistant (with Side Assist, Travel Assist, Dynamic Lane Assist and Emergency Assist), but it is distinguished in particular by the presence of a particularly promising head-up display in augmented reality and a Matrix LED lighting. Like the Model Y, the German SUV has a heat pump, but only on the high-end version.
Battery and motor: a similar consumption of 14.8 kWh / 100 km
The Volkswagen ID.4 is currently only available with the single unit with 77 kWh of usable capacity that powers a single 204 hp rear engine for 310 Nm of torque. According to the manufacturer, the set promises a range of 520 km in this configuration (500 km and 490 km communicated on the site for the 1st and 1st Max respectively), an average consumption of 14.81 kWh / 100 km in the eyes of the WLTP standard.
The Tesla Model Y is equipped for its part with a 75 kWh battery as on the Model 3. The available power values are still not communicated by Palo Alto, but the SUV announces an estimated WLTP range of 505 km in version. Long range and 480 km in Performance version. Which places it just above the ID.4 with an average consumption of 14.85 kWh / 100 km (Long Range) or 15.63 kWh / 100 km (Performance). However, the Model Y is made up of two engines and a much higher power level than the German SUV.
The masses are timidly communicated by the manufacturers and it is necessary to go to the technical sheet of the ID.4 or in the American model Y user manual. In this chapter, the Volkswagen admits 2.124 kg empty when the Model Y boasts 2,030 kg.
Performance: the ID.4 takes it easy, but can tow up to 1,900 kg
The Model Y takes off on the ID.4 with its two engines,. In its basic configuration, it announces a 0-100 km / h in 5.1 seconds for a top speed of 217 km / h, against 8.5 seconds and 160 km / h for the last born from Wolfsburg. A chapter where Volkswagen does not hesitate to point out that it is not a “Data relevant to the mass market”.
We will probably have to wait for other versions of the Volkswagen ID.4. Because if the German brand has not yet presented the entire range, the electric SUV will not differ from the Skoda Enyaq iV: like the latter, the ID.4 can carry two electric motors (and therefore four-wheel drive) for a total power of 265 hp or even 306 hp (0-100 km / h of 6.9 s and 6.2 s respectively on the Enyaq).
But these two SUVs are not just about their little game in front of the clock or climbing the sidewalks. Both are indeed capable of towing trailers. In its current configuration, the ID.4 can tow up to 1,200 kg (within a slope limit of 12%) while the Model Y claims a maximum value of 1,600 kg (both values are shown for a braked trailer) . We will have to wait for the all-wheel-drive version of the ID.4 to aim for the 1,900 kg promised by the manufacturer. In all cases, the couplings are not automatically provided: the option is displayed at a price of € 1,050 on the Model Y, whereas it will be necessary to draw from the accessories catalog of the ID.4 (price not communicated).
Recharge: draw in AC, unbeatable Superchargers in DC
The Volkswagen ID.4 does not innovate in the charging department compared to the ID.3. Like the compact, it is equipped with an 11 kW AC on-board charger and a 125 kW CCS Combo system for the fast charging part. By being part of the consortium of manufacturers around the Ionity network, Volkswagen allows ID.4 to benefit from preferential rates with a minimum of € 0.30 per unit invoiced.
The Model Y is equal in AC current with an 11 kW charger. It is taking advantage of fast charging, on the one hand, taking advantage of the strong Supercharger network that is the pride of the brand, and on the other hand can be powered by V3 terminals with a maximum power of 250 kW. Double the ID.4, since the Model Y will be able to gain 320 km of range in 15 minutes, when it will take almost 30 minutes for the German.
Price: ID.4 is knocking on the doors of premium
Like all manufacturers, Volkswagen had no choice but to study the Tesla Model Y very deeply to shape various aspects of the ID.4. However, the recent SUV is not worrying about Tesla’s offering, especially with its less powerful two-wheel drive version. With performance a notch below the Model Y, which belongs to the premium segment, the Volkswagen ID.4 therefore naturally has the price advantage with an entry ticket set at € 47,950 in the 1st version. The noose is tightening, however, with the 1st Max version, which jumps to € 58,950 and thus comes close to the € 63,000 claimed by the Tesla Model Y Grande Autonomie.
For the moment, the Tesla Model Y wins against the Volkswagen ID.4, which we will undoubtedly have to wait for the four-wheel drive versions to compare with the Californian. But then prices could quickly skyrocket in the Volkswagen catalog and come too close to tickle the Model Y, with features and performance that could evolve further as it approaches the market. However, paper will not be enough in the real world and the California SUV will, for example, have to live up to the quality of build and finish, a field generally well mastered by Volkswagen.