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Technology ADAPT Reports

Model Showcase: VW ID.4

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Feb. 18, 2021—With the introduction of brand new drivetrains in electric vehicles, it’s no wonder that automakers are also pushing the envelope with radically different interior features.

Take the Volkswagen ID.4. Standard on all trims will be 54 multi-colored LED lights that are meant to communicate with passengers. The light reacts to passenger requests and conveys certain things that the vehicle is doing. Think of like a smart device, like an Alexa unit—many have lights that blink or swirl when a voice command is activated.

“We were looking for a new kind of communication between the car and the human,” said Mathias Kuhn, Head of User Interface Design at Volkswagen, in a press release. “We wanted to create a minimalistic, yet revolutionary interaction that was both easy to understand and emotional.”

An initial, helpful hint will be a designated color to let drivers know that the silent EV is “running,” or ready to drive. Other indicators react to voice commands, vehicle turning, incoming phone calls and other events.

That’s why ADAPT is launching its Model Showcase feature. A different generation of vehicles requires a different kind of spotlight. ADAPT will focus on the new powertrains and engineering features of modern vehicles—but you’ll also read about the latest quirks, like communicative lighting.

VW ID4 (2)

VW ID.4 Specs

VW unveiled the ID.4 in the fall of 2020 as a compact electric SUV, which is the type of vehicle that’s common among many of the big EV models coming out, including the Mustang.

It’s rated at 202 hp as a rear-wheel-drive configuration and has an available all-wheel-drive unit with 302 hp. The RWD model is the first to release, and it has a rear-mounted AV permanent magnet synchronous motor.

The EPA confirmed a 250-mile range for the rear-wheel-drive models.

Coming in at as much as 4,500 pounds, VW engineers sought to spruce up its handling capability for drivers. It has a strut suspension in front and a multi-link system in the rear. VW says that its Vehicle Dynamics Manager, working alongside electronic stability control, works in the background to control “wheel-selective brake interventions” and tries to optimize steering and driving behavior of the vehicle.


Regenerative Brake Model

VW says its engineers also put much thought into optimizing its regenerative braking, with focus on more than the braking system itself.

One of the central questions, according to a press release, was what the system should do when the vehicle is coasting, and the driver has no foot on any pedal. Should it roll freely or the electric motor try and suck some energy out of that momentum?

On the ID.4, coasting takes priority. One reason is for a better driving experience, according to VW. Drivers are used to a coasting feeling when they’re cruising down a hill or preparing to decelerate. 

Another interesting part of the system is what VW calls predictive “Eco Assistance.” When approaching a bend in the road, a corner, or some other low-speed area, the ID.4 will notify drivers when it’s most efficient to take their foot off the pedal.

“From this moment on, the system manages optimum coasting and energy recovery without drivers having to intervene. The car responds similarly when it approaches a vehicle ahead that is travelling at a lower speed,” according to VW.

The regenerative braking system gets energy when it can, though. The traditional disc and rotor system only assists in braking during hard braking or at very low speeds, at which the motor can’t recuperate enough energy.


Images: VW

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