Volkswagen’s first electric compact SUV is now being built in Zwickau, Saxony, Germany.
First let’s see the press release, then I’ll make some considerations.
Volkswagen’s electric offensive continues to gather speed: Series production of the brand’s first all-electric SUV, the ID.4, gets underway in Zwickau. The world premiere of the ID.4 follows at the end of September. Volkswagen is thus underscoring its ambition to become the world market leader in e-mobility. To this end, the Group is investing some €33 billion in the period to 2024, €11 billion of which have been earmarked for the Volkswagen brand. The brand expects to produce 1.5 million electric cars in 2025.
“With the ID.4, Volkswagen is adding an all-electric vehicle to its offering in the compact SUV class, the world’s largest growth segment”, Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, said. “Following the ID.3, this is already the second model based on the modular electric drive matrix (MEB). Going forward, the car will be built and sold in Europe, in China, and later also in the USA. That is how we are scaling the MEB platform globally and laying the economic foundations for the success of our ID. family.”
Board Member for E-mobility, Thomas Ulbrich, said: “We are right on schedule with the Volkswagen brand’s transformation process to e-mobility. The ID.3 is now being followed by the ID.4. Given the major societal challenges of recent months, the successful start of ID.4 series production is an exceptional achievement, so my appreciation and thanks go especially to the Volkswagen team in Saxony and all members of the ID team. The second model in the ID. family is already rolling off the assembly line where, only recently, ICEs were still being built.”
Zwickau plays a key role in the system changeover to e-mobility: For the first time, a large car manufacturing plant is being entirely converted to e-mobility, with investments running at some €1.2 billion. All conversion work will be completed as scheduled this year. In 2021, the first full production year as an EV factory, some 300,000 electric vehicles based on the modular electric drive matrix (MEB) will leave the Zwickau plant. The site will therefore become largest and most efficient EV factory in Europe and a trailblazer in the transformation of Volkswagen’s global production network. Preparations to roll out the electric SUV at international level are also in full swing. Pre-production of the ID.4 has already started at the Anting plant in China, the Chattanooga site will start the ID.4 production in 2022.
Modular electric drive matrix (MEB) by Volkswagen
Profile of Volkswagen’s first all-electric SUV.
The ID.4 is based on Volkswagen’s modular electric drive matrix (MEB). This is an all-electric platform that maximizes the opportunities offered by e-mobility. With its low drag coefficient of 0.28 and scalable battery system, the ID.4 can cover over 500 kilometers (to WLTP). The vehicle also offers plenty of interior space, and the powerful proportions lend an ultra-modern look to the exterior.
The SUV will initially be launched with rear-wheel drive, while an electric all-wheel drive version will be added a later date. The high-voltage battery is positioned in the sandwich-design underbody to create an optimum, low centre of gravity in terms of driving dynamics, along with an extremely well-balanced axle load distribution. Like all models based on the new modular electric drive matrix (MEB), the ID.4 will be very spacious thanks to its compact electric drive technology. The cockpit of the zero-emission SUV is clearly structured and consistently digitalized; operation is largely via touch surfaces and intuitive voice control.
Carbon-neutral production of the ID.4
For Volkswagen, the ID.4 and ID.3 are important milestones as the brand sets its course toward complete carbon neutrality by 2050 – aligned with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. Like the ID.3, its sister model the ID.4 electric SUV sets new benchmarks in sustainability: Production in Saxony is carbon-neutral and the electric SUV will be handed over to customers with a carbon-neutral footprint. Green power is exclusively used in energy-intensive battery cell production for the ID.4.
Strong cluster for electric vehicles in German automotive manufacturing
With its resolute entry into e-mobility, Volkswagen is making an important contribution to climate protection and thereby creating long-term perspectives for some 100,000 employees at its German plants. Apart from manufacturing at the Zwickau factory, the Components plants in Brunswick, Kassel, Salzgitter and Wolfsburg are also involved in the production of electric vehicles. They manufacture key components such as the electric motors or the battery systems. The ID.3 will also be built at the Gläserne Manufaktur in Dresden from 2021. The car manufacturing plants in Emden and Hanover are scheduled to begin building electric vehicles from 2022.
The Volkswagen ID.4 made in Europe is using the new NCM 712 battery cells made by LG Chem in Poland. Later on, the made in USA version will get its battery cells from SK Innovation and the made in China version will probably get its battery cells from CATL.
Volkswagen ID.4 made in Europe
- Manufacturer: LG Chem
- Model: LGX E78
- Voltage: 3,65 V
- Capacity: 78 Ah
- Weight: 1.073 g
- Gravimetric energy density: 265 Wh/kg
- Chemistry: NCM 712
Battery pack (low capacity)
- Total capacity: 55 kWh
- Usable capacity: 52 kWh (94 %)
- Modules: 8
- Cells: 192 (96s2p)
- Total cell weight: 206 kg
- TMS: active liquid cooling
As a side note, this exactly the same battery configuration we have in the new generation Renault ZOE.
Battery pack (medium capacity)
- Total capacity: 62 kWh
- Usable capacity: 58 kWh (94 %)
- Modules: 9
- Cells: 216 (108s2p)
- Total cell weight: 232 kg
- TMS: active liquid cooling
This battery pack has the highest voltage of the three. Great for DC fast charging.
Battery pack (high capacity)
- Total capacity: 82 kWh
- Usable capacity: 77 kWh (94 %)
- Modules: 12
- Cells: 288 (96s3p)
- Total cell weight: 309 kg
- TMS: active liquid cooling
Battery costs roadmap by Volkswagen
Made with very energy dense and affordable NCM 712 batteries – that cost below 100 euros per kWh -, the expensive Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4 will be extremely profitable electric cars (on average way more than 15.000 euros per unit). That’s why Volkswagen will only try to sell the cheaper electric triplets (UpMiiGo) made on the old NSF (New Small Family) platform when it’s required to reach EU emissions targets.
This year thanks to the COVID-19 lockdowns, ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) car sales dropped a lot, this is great but also means that Volkswagen won’t have to sell as many electric cars as it was previously expected. The very profitable ID.3 and ID.4 will be enough to comply with EU emissions regulations and VW doesn’t need to sell any more triplets this year…
The same could be said about Renault and its new ZOE made with the same NCM 712 battery cells from LG Chem. It’s an extremely profitable electric car (more than 10.000 euros per unit), that’s why advertising and availability are high for this model. You don’t have to wait very long to get one after you order it.
Anyway, I really think that the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4 will play a very important role in the massification of electric cars. Not only they seem to be great electric cars, the MEB platform is flexible enough that it’ll eventually adapt to use CTP (cell-to-pack) cobalt-free batteries. This is the future and the step required to allow an annual production above one million units. Until then the “car of the people” won’t be electric.
Pedro, Thanks for the news! You say the ID.4 is expensive. Might you have an idea about base model cost? The VW graph you show says pack cost is below 100 Euros per kWh – do you know if this is true today? Also, VW claims 330,000 car output next year. Can the Poland battery plant support this claim? I hope the ID.4 supports a decent AC single phase charge speed of 11 kW, at least 100 kW DCFC speed and Plug and Charge capability. V2x would be nice, too. I saw the Taycan has battery back temp indication – I wish ID.4 would show this as well.
Hi Barry, these are my current estimations.
NCM 811: 80-85 euros per kWh at cell level and 90-95 euros at battery pack
NCM 712: 75-80 euros per kWh at cell level and 85-90 euros at battery pack
LFP: 60-65 euros per kWh at cell level and 65-70 euros at battery pack (safer cobalt-free battery packs are simpler and cheaper)
LG Chem’s combined battery production capacity (Europe, USA, South Korea and China) is expected to reach 100 GWh later this year. 100 GWh is enough for one million battery packs of 100 kWh each, or two millions if the batteries are 50 kWh.
We don’t know yet the final price of the Volkswagen ID.4, but it’s expected to be around 10.000 euros more expensive than the ID.3 and the ID.3 is already expensive. While the price range of the ID.3 goes from 30.000 to 40.000 euros, the ID.4 is expected to go from 40.000 to 50.000 euros. Far from being “people’s cars”…
Wow, that is a lot of battery production. I guess it will still a few years before it comes online?
Yes, it’s disappointing the ID.4 costs so much. Does 40-50K Euros include VAT?
I wonder if it’s going to be priced lower in the US once VW gets that factory going in 2022?
The ID.4 will have to be well under $45K USD to compete with the Nissan Ariya and especially the Model Y, considering that the upcoming single motor long range Model Y will probably be in the $46-48K USD range. However, 40K Euros translates to $47K USD, so the ID.4 is only in the ballpark if the price you’re stating is including VAT.
Also, the Ariya might come to the North American market a full year ahead of the ID.4, and personally, I’d prefer the Ariya over the ID.4 if their prices are on par, as I trust Nissan’s quality more than VW’s.
If you’re referring to the map yes, that’s production capacity announced.
Yes, prices in Europe always include VAT (20 % on average). Currently every electric car is grossly overpriced, it’s not just Volkswagen, just look at the Kia e-Soul that in Portugal starts at 43.000 euros.
Indeed, the Nissan Ariya seems to be a good alternative and prices in 2022 will definitely be much lower.
Anyway, I think that we’ll start to see electric cars with decent prices and availability only with CTP cobalt-free batteries. I wonder how long will it take for American and European carmakers to adopt this simple, yet groundbreaking technology. Right now Chinese companies have the upper hand.
Thanks for the reply Pedro. Yes, Chinese companies seem to have the upper hand at this point.
I suspect tesla might also generate a huge advantage over the next couple of years. Maybe not in Europe, but in North America I think they will. They’ve got something up their sleeve with cybertruck being priced so low. It’ll be comparable to everyone else’s entry level suvs, but much bigger and with a longer range.
And everyone else’s great new expensive EVs aren’t coming out for another year or two, so tesla will sell a ton of model Y’s in the meantime.
how much by your estimation Nissan is making on 40 and 62kwh version of Leaf? Since it is more expensive it should be more than Zoe
Hard to say because the Nissan LEAF no longer has a direct ICE counterpart for comparison ever since the Pulsar was discontinued. It’s easier to estimate ZOE’s profitability by comparing it to the Clio.
Nonetheless, I estimate that Nissan profits at least 10.000 euros per unit with the 40 kWh version and 15.000 euros with the e+.
However, let’s not forget that Nissan lost a lot of money by replacing batteries under warranty. On the other hand, Renault had to replace drivetrains more often.
In the end what matters is the profit per unit that is left after its warranty runs out.
Therefore I think that the most reliable electric cars are also the most profitable. Kia and Hyundai are leading here, they have big profit margins combined with low warranty costs. Tesla, Renault and Nissan really need to reduce their warranty costs.
Big profit margins don’t mean anything if they get eaten up by warranty costs.
Around 2019-11, average battery prices were $ 156 / KWh per bloomberg report which is €130.
Did it fall to just € 95 / KWh ($ 114 / KWh) by now. Is this the cost for high volume makers like LG, Samsung, Panasonic or is it the average. How did you arrive at the cost. Just curious.
In 2019 most automakers were still using more expensive NCM 622 and NCM 523 battery cells, now the shift to more energy dense and affordable NCM 811 and NCM 712 cells has began.
Unfortunately automakers don’t want us to know the real costs of the batteries because they have a false narrative to defend. They want us to believe that electric cars are very expensive to produce, therefore subsidies are required and governments shouldn’t ban polluting ICE cars. However, sometimes internal reports leak and show us what automakers are paying for the cells like that one from Volkswagen, or this one from GM.
Volkswagen recently changed its narrative, now it admits that electric cars are cheaper and simpler to produce than their ICE counterparts. This is great, right?
Wrong! The production of electric cars not only requires much simpler assembly lines with fewer machinery it also requires fewer workers, this means unemployment and governments shouldn’t push for more electric cars…
Automakers will always find excuses to keep selling their polluting ICE cars and protect their investments. Even if it costs us the air that we breathe.
China’s GAC/NIO just release the BOM for their 007 BEV model…
The web site says the battery for 73 kWh is ~16K USD
Colour me skeptical…. That’s $220 per kWh. No way José….
Very interesting, thanks for sharing.
If those values are real, that automaker is extremely bad at negotiating prices with its suppliers.
Back in 2016 GM was already paying 145 USD per kWh for a much more expensive chemistry.
“Liao Bing, founder of Chinese electric car maker GAC NIO, promised at a presentation in Beijing on August 18 that its combined hardware profits would not exceed 1% and any excess will be returned to customers.”
I’m very skeptical when a corporation claims it only has a 1 % profit margin.
I wonder if NIO’s price includes the battery swapping technology for the pack? That might add some cost.
Thanks Pedro, lets wait for
Hopefully if the virus is contained by 2021-01 and all the factories return to full capacity, then the cost of battery will fall down and we can expect price of BEVs to go down gradually.
To be honest, I hope someone will total one right out of dealership and I will be able to buy a battery from it. It will allow our plane to fly for about 3 hours with the same weight instead of 2 hours now.
Thank you VW for starting the production of ID.4 and I hope the deliveries will start soon and there will not be a need to wait 1 full year like ID.3.
So the battery weight is just 309 kg for 82 KWh, so the efficiency of the battery and the packing must have improved a lot.
Germans bought near 35.917 PEVs in 2020-07 which is a massive # and a big record with PHVs outshining BEVs by a significant margin. Also 104 units of ID.3 was sold there. Hope in the coming months, the BEVs will gain.
That’s the weight of the active material (cells only).
Anyone living in USA and looking to buy a BEV or PHV, here are some great deals
Volvo reduces prices of their 2021 S60 PHVs by more than $ 7.750 compared to 2020 model.
I’ve corrected you at most once 🙂 that VW triplets are not based on MQB but New Small Family Platform (NSF), also known as AA or PQ12 platform. It is actually a little older than MQB
I am still waiting for official informations about Gross Vehicle Weight (GVWR) of ID.4 and Enyaq, because ID.3 Pro S with the biggest 77 kWh battery have problem with max. payload which is only 421 kg. Weight Unladen (EU) for ID.3 is 1934 kg and GVWR is 2280 kg. This leads to many limitations for this particular battery version: 4 passengers only, no rack roof, no tow hitch. And this is still RWD version where AWD will be at least 50 kg more heavier if it is ever going in production.
I think it is still acceptable for this vehicle size but it will be a major flaw for bigger SUV like ID.4. Weight Unladen (EU) of ID.4 RWD with 77 kWh battery is 1950 kg, which is only few kilograms more than ID.3, but the GVWR should be at least 2400 kg to my taste. We will see on 1st September when Enyaq will be officialy “released” in Czech Republic.
I stand corrected, thanks Pajda!
Hello Padja, and Pedro, thank you for your articles and comments, they seem very insightful. Regarding the weight limitation for the ID3, I was always wondering why they wouldn’t reinforce the chasis/suspension to allow for the 5th passenger. I have recently read that there is a legal gross weight limitation based on the dimmensions of the vehicle. I looked for it, but I cannot find it. Do you happen to know what it says or whether there are any change proposals so that we could maybe see the big battery in the ID3 with 5 passengers? I guess it will also impact other manufacturers that want to increase the battery size in similar sized vehicles…
Thank you again
I think that there is no gross weight limitation connected to vehicle size. My guess is that when VW management approved the ID.3 concept in 2015, they thought that 58/62 kWh battery “should be enough for everyone” for all times (this was not the first and particularly not the last stupid assumption in the field of any human technical invention)
But some time ago they finally realized that they must add range, particularly due to the Tesla TM3 LR competitor and some engineer told them that ID.3 wheel base provides enough space to instal longer 77/82 kWh battery case, which i think it was firstly intended for ID.4 and bigger vehicles. (There are now two battery cases for both ID.3 and ID.4, smaller for up to 9 MEB-590 modules and the bigger one for 12 modules which is ca 250mm longer). But it was at the time that all other components, particularly suspension was designed to GVWR of smaller 58/62 kW battery. I wouldn’t look for anything more complicated in this case.
If we look at the TM3 LR Dual Motor, which was from the begining designed for the unladen weight of 1931 kg and GVWR of 2305 kg = 449 kg max. payload. (notice that it have almost the same weight parameters as ID.3 with the big battery) but it is 5 seater, with up to 70 kg roof load and tow hitch up to 1000 kg.
The Chinese versions have the following weights declared:
ID4 X (SAIC version): curb 2120 kg / GVW 2580 kg
ID4 Crozz (FAW version): curb 2130 kg / GVW 2600 kg
Both have a single 150 kW motor (2WD) and battery size is yet unknown.
However the SAIC version is mentioned in the “recommended NEV” files with a range of 555 km and average consumption of 16,2 kWh/100km. So it’s most likely a ~80kWh battery (by CATL).
Thanks Leo B,
The chinese data are interesting but the curb weight seems to me to be rather high for RWD. But they can be valid for AWD version.
I got the ID.4 curb weight 1950 kg data from ev.database (which is only a guess) but recently find another data from Czech journalist tests of Škoda Enyaq and they say that the “usefull payload” of Enyaq 80 (RWD) is 645 kg (i think they mean with 75 kg driver+luggage = 570 kg max. EU payload) and the curb weight is 2010 kg which leads to the same GVW of 2580 kg as chinese one.
Next week we will know it for sure at least for Enyaq.
I’ve noticed the declared curb weight for Chinese cars is often much higher than the same car in Europe. I don’t know where the difference comes from, but maybe in China the heaviest version is declared and in Europe the lightest version.
In Chinese type approval tests the “benchmark weight” is usually 100 kg above the curb weight, indicating the curb weight does not include a driver.
Mercedes C200 (Netherlands): 1.5T 135 kW / curb 1405 kg / GVW 2085 kg; curb weight is without driver.
Mercedes C260 (China): 1.5T 135 kW / curb 1620 kg / GVW 2090 kg; “benchmark weight”: 1720 kg, actual weight during type approval test: 1776 kg
“ID.3 Pro S with the biggest 77 kWh battery have problem with max. payload which is only 421 kg.”
That is not much and I have seen people criticizing that VW declared that the car is only for 4 persons.
Meanwhile Tesla sell model Y LR D that has max payload 402 kg. That is the lowest for any CUV / SUV on the market. On their Internet site Tesla claims that it can carry 7 adults. No it can not. It is an EV for 4 persons and limited luggage.
2+2 seater 3 door BEV for $4.000 with 170 km NEDC which is 106 km WLTP with 13.82 KWh battery pack
Wuling Hongguang MINI EV by the SAIC-GM joint-venture
Can be secondary vehicles for many.
The $4,200 variant only has a 9.2 kWh pack AIUI. The 13.8 kWh one is somewhat more expensive.
Any idea of what type of battery (Lithium / Lead / Nickel) is used in Wuling Hongguang Mini EV.
This vehicle sold 7K units in July and 15K units in August in China. No website mentions about the battery type.
I couldn’t find it either, but given the small size of this model I’m pretty sure those compact 9,3 and 13,9 kWh batteries are NCM (most likely) or LFP.
https://www.sgmw.com.cn/E50.html (only opened with Firefox, not Chromium)
Wuling has 4 versions declared of the Hongguang MiniEV in the latest government notice:
LZW7004EVPDBA – battery supplier: Huating (Hefei); type: LFP 90V 163Ah (14.7 kWh)
LZW7004EVPDBB – battery supplier: Huating (Hefei); type: LFP 93V 100Ah (9.3 kWh)
LZW7004EVPHAM – battery supplier: Suzhou Keyi; type: LFP 103V 135Ah (13.9 kWh)
LZW7004EVPKAK – battery supplier: Guoxuan; type: LFP 96V 100Ah (9.6 kWh)
That’s extremely good news, with LFP batteries the production of the Mini EV won’t be constrained by battery supply.
According to José Pontes the Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV sold 7.348 units in its first full sales month (July) and deliveries in August are already above 15.000.
Very impressive, this electric car deserves a dedicated article 🙂
You seem interested in Chinese EV’s, but you’ve probably discovered that it’s quite difficult to find information. I’ve been researching Chinese car history as a hobby project for a while now and I have found some handy resources. As a matter of fact I just made a small manual I promised someone. I can send you a copy as well, if you’re interested.
Yes I am. Please send it to [email protected]
It’s in your mailbox 👍
ID.4 in USA/Canada will be available next summer and will be made un Germany until the US factory is ready. Does the LG battery are better than the SK battery? I’m asking because it could change my décision to be first in line or not. I will wait for the AWD version. Thanks.
It’s still too early to tell which battery cells are better.