Production of the Volkswagen ID.4 is officially underway at Volkswagen Chattanooga in Tennessee, and the start of VW’s EV production in the U.S. came with other notable news: Volkswagen is hiring 1,000 new employees in Tennessee, and the relatively-new VW ID.4 could get a price cut, courtesy of a smaller battery.
This “budget” version of the Volkswagen ID.4 will nonetheless be a flagship EV. The only difference could be lower battery capacity, down from the ID.4's current 82 kWh battery pack to a new 62 kWh battery pack. The reduction in battery capacity might correspond to a reduction in price; Automotive News cited VW’s Scott Keogh, who said the cheaper ID.4 could be priced in the $35,000 range — about $6,000 less than the price of the ID.4 now.
Of course, that means the budget EV from Volkswagen would get less miles per charge. A smaller 62 kWh battery could yield about 75 percent of the bigger battery’s range. The current Volkswagen ID.4 gets up to 275 miles per charge, so the budget ID.4 might have somewhere around 206 miles of range. And that’s not accounting for the EV SUV’s lower weight, from its smaller (lighter) battery.
There would also be differences in drivetrain, since the current ID.4 will come with either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. The cheaper ID.4 will only come with rear-wheel drive as an option. But it would still be an EV SUV made in the U.S.
As we noted earlier, the Volkswagen ID.4 starts at $41,230, before applying federal tax incentives. EV incentives can lower the price of the 2022 Volkswagen ID.4 to $33,730. The subsidies slash the price by up to $7,500, not counting state incentives. But U.S. federal tax credits phase out after Volkswagen sells 200,000 ID.4 EVs in the country; VW has sold 190,000 ID.4 models globally.
Now that the ID.4 is being made in the U.S. — adding another point in its favor for American buyers who care about domestic provenance — sales could exceed those 200,000 units sooner than expected.
It looks like VW is trying to head off the problem with the cheaper ID.4, which goes into production this year, in 2022. It might even arrive on time for the tax credits to knock the price down to $27,500 — as long as VW prices it at $35,000 to start. The American market ID.4 will be made alongside the Volkswagen Atlas at Chattanooga. Both the bigger and smaller battery packs will come from SK Innovations in Georgia. It’s only fitting that VW Chattanooga will build an ICE-powered SUV next to an electric SUV.
Drivers in the U.S. like big cars. Trucks are at the top; SUVs follow. But drivers everywhere like cheaper cars, and the promise of low-cost EVs has eluded the industry. Cheaper EVs are slowly getting here, like the Chevy Bolt EV, but given how much the market loves SUVs, a budget Volkswagen ID.4 could be a hit.