250-mile range, $379 leases, 3 years of free charging

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Production of ID4s destined for sale in the U.S. is currently concentrated in VW’s plant in Zwickau, Germany, where it is being outfitted with the 82-kilowatt-hour battery pack. Ultimately, production will be spread across five assembly plants: two in Germany, two in China and one in the U.S. When local production begins in 2022 in Chattanooga, the ID4 will be available with a smaller battery pack and with a starting price under $35,000, said Scott Keogh, CEO of Volkswagen of America, during a media preview here.

“The plan is to strike magic again: the right place, the right time, the right vehicle,” Keogh said in an interview, referencing VW’s storied history with the Beetle in the 1960s while discussing the ID4, which he said is the size of a Tiguan but drives like a Golf GTI hot-hatch. “If you look at the Beetle and what it did in terms of [its initial] price point, the newness that it brought to the marketplace at just the right time when the market was looking for that, and people said, ‘Wow that company is kind of a little crazy!’ And then, three years later: Boom. Cultural icon.”

Volkswagen says the $379 lease price is for highly qualified customers through Volkswagen Credit on a 36-month lease with 10,000 miles per year, and with $3,579 due at signing, excluding tax, title, license, options and dealer fees. The price is for the rear-wheel-drive ID4 Pro, which is not expected to be available until the first quarter of 2021.

The ID4, built on the automaker’s flexible MEB battery-electric platform, features a spartan interior dominated by a 10- or 12-inch infotainment screen, depending on trim level, a second, 5.1-inch instrument cluster screen mounted above the steering column, and an interactive light strip below the windshield that provides visual feedback to voice commands and driving information.

Some interior functions are controlled on the infotainment screens, while others respond to gestures. Voice commands can also be used to change most infotainment inputs, along with buttons with haptic responses on the steering wheel. Heated front seats are standard, as is the large panoramic glass roof.

A cellphone storage area in the center console is capable of both wireless charging and connectivity, but it is worth noting that all four of the ID4’s ports are USB-C, instead of the more ubiquitous and traditional USB-A ports found across most other vehicles. VW says that decision was made because the older USB-A ports are being phased out in favor of the more efficient USB-C design.

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Saurabh Shukla

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