With fresh snowfall suggesting winter in Ontario isn’t quite over yet, Volkswagen has helpfully explored how long a driver can stay warm in their electric vehicle should they become stranded as part of the brand’s ‘Quick Take’ YouTube series.
The study, undertaken by Volkswagen US following heavy snowstorms that blanketed Ontario and North Eastern United States in particular in mid-January, uses the new ID.4 as its test mule for this experiment. Specifically the premium ‘Pro S’ trim equipped with an 82 kWh battery, the highest capacity available for the VW’s newest electric compact SUV, and configured for rear-wheel drive.
To set up the experiment, VW’s technician’s parked the ID.4 Pro S – available in the US from US$45,260, though that specific trim is not available in Canada – and configured an initial cabin temperature of 55° Fahrenheit (just under 13°C) to simulate conditions for a car that’s recently been driven. The outside temperature was 21° Fahrenheit (just over -6°C), while the vehicle’s climate control was set to 72° Fahrenheit (around 22°C). The driver’s seat heater was also set on low for added toastiness, while a smartphone was connected to the car’s infotainment system.
Having maintained these exact conditions for three hours, and provided this scenario begins with the 82 kWh battery already at 100 per cent capacity, VW technicians calculated that the RWD ID.4 Pro S could maintain the 22°C cabin temperature for up to 41 hours, given the current consumed during that period.
Granted, this kind of endurance is dependent on changeable outside temperatures – particularly windchill – plus the battery’s available charge and whether or not the vehicle has any additional passengers. It should also be noted that the 82 kWh battery in the rear-wheel drive Pro S offers the vehicle’s second highest estimated range at 250 miles (just over 403 km), behind only the RWD Pro’s estimated 260 miles (around 418 km). Understandably, the “up to 41 hours” hypothesis should be taken with a healthily-skeptical pinch of salt.
Even so, given the degrees to which electric range can be affected by sub-zero conditions, news that an EV’s cabin temperature is unlikely to immediately plummet should road conditions become impassable is, at the very least, encouraging for prospective EV owners, first-time or otherwise.
Elsewhere, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess yesterday confirmed during an ‘Ask Me Anything’ Q&A on Reddit that a “major OTA [over the air] update for the ID.4” should arrive this summer for US customers. Said update would include Plug & Charge, a feature that allows the vehicle to immediately start charging at public ports when plugged in, with no need for an app or card.
Mr Diess also confirmed that bidirectional charging, which allows energy stored in the EV battery to be sent back to the grid, would also be part of the summer upgrade, albeit only for ID.4 models boasting the 77 kWh battery.
“We will have a major OTA update for the ID.4 coming this summer, which will add features like Plug&Charge and AutoHold, as well as a higher capacity onboard charge capability.
“Bidirectional charging will be available this year for all ID. Models with 77 kWh battery, also via OTA update. In the beginning we will only offer Vehicle-to-home. This means you can run your dish washer with electricity from abroad.”