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The white interior of a 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 Electric Vehicle is shown.

2023 Volkswagen ID.4: That Does It…Cars Are Just Computers Now

You may have heard a teacher tell you in class years ago that you won’t have a calculator in your pocket, so you better learn how to do those fractions. Not only were they wrong, but our calculators can now do so much more than just let us forget our multiplication table. Computers are everywhere––our homes, our pockets, and even our driveways. Yes, our driveways. I may as well let you in on a secret: the 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 Electric Vehicle is a computer on wheels, and I refuse to believe otherwise. I’m getting ahead of myself, but what you need to know is that electric vehicles like the Volkswagen ID.4 have all the accouterment necessary to warrant calling these things computers. I’ve dragged this on long enough––let’s dive into this.

This May Seem Like a Stretch

Alright, saying a car is a computer might seem like a stretch. However, new vehicles really are more computers than cars––just look at the most important way the ID.4 stands out from its peers in the Volkswagen lineup. As you may know, the ID.4 is an electric vehicle. Hey––computers run on electricity. Sorry, I had to. But there really is something different about saying goodbye to gasoline. Compared to its Volkswagen siblings like the Atlas, Tiguan, Taos, and more, the ID.4 provides drivers with a truly next-generation driving experience––a car that feels like less of a vehicle, and more like a computer, from the moment you power it on and don’t hear the roar of an engine.

What also feels like a computer is that most interactions with the ID.4 will involve the vehicle’s impressive infotainment center. This infotainment center has all of the components of a computer, including a large screen, a CPU (Central Processing Unit), RAM (Random Access Memory), WiFi access for software updates, and more. That’s right––the infotainment center in your vehicle has the same proverbial brains that you’d find on your home desktop or laptop, and it runs many of your favorite apps.

Similar to how Apple lets you link your computer and your iPhone, there’s also an app you can download called myVW that lets you link your ID.4 and your smartphone. When using the app, you can keep track of some of your vehicle’s vitals, monitor the car’s battery and charging, or even schedule service at your local dealership. Between your phone and vehicle, you’re using two computers that work in tandem.

A 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 Electric Vehicle is shown from the front at an angle.

Modular Architecture

Aside from the heavy use of actual computers in the vehicle, the electric powertrain gives the ID.4 a more modular design, similar to what you find in many computers. Rather than offering entirely different engines in different trims, the performance of an EV can be tweaked simply by adjusting the size and configuration of its batteries and electric motors. For instance, the 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 brought a change. For the first time, the ID.4 has a new entry-level powertrain that lowers the cost of the vehicle, but the only thing that changed was the battery size. The new battery is a 62 kWh pack rather than the previously-standard 82 kWh pack, and it’s rated to provide 209 miles of range.

If that is not enough range for your needs, the 82 kWh battery is still available as an option. It outputs the same horsepower and torque as the new base battery, but it provides up to 275 miles of range. Lastly, the third and final powertrain is the 82 kWh battery linked to two motors instead of one––think of it as upgrading the processor of your computer. With an additional motor comes a stark increase in output, with the dual-motor option offering 295 hp instead of 201 hp. However, just like with a more powerful laptop that has the same battery capacity, the total range of the dual-motor ID.4 is slightly reduced to 251 miles.

Plug-In Your Car

The most helpful computer-like feature that most people will notice in their daily life is related to the battery. Charging the battery in an EV like the ID.4 is easier than ever. There are over 45,000 compatible public charging stations in the United States, and you can guarantee more are coming. You can even add your own private charging station in your garage or driveway, which only makes sense––after all, you wouldn’t want to take your laptop to a public charging station whenever the battery ran low.

Public charging stations aren’t all the same. A decent number of them are capable of DC fast charging. What is DC fast charging? DC fast charging is the best kind of charging station you can bring your ID.4 to, and while they’re the least abundant, they’re appearing at a rapid rate, and as their name suggests, they’re fast. How fast? With a DC fast charging station, you can add nearly 90 miles of range in just 10 minutes, making them a great choice during long road trips.

The next best charger is the Level 2 charger. These are not only the most common chargers you’ll find when you’re out and about, but they are available for installation in your home. The charging speed varies based on the specs of your vehicle, but you can recharge over 30 miles of range in an hour. A home Level 2 is highly recommended for EV owners and can be added to a standard 240V outlet for a couple hundred dollars. You charge a laptop and your phone, so why not add your car to the list? Having a battery that you can charge instead of needing to fill up with gasoline is another big part of what makes this vehicle feel so much like a computer.

Whether you’re charging the ID.4 at home or one of the many public charging stations, how can you know when your vehicle is good to go? No longer do you have to rely on estimates because, thanks to the myVW app we mentioned earlier, you can keep tabs on your battery’s charging status directly from your smartphone. If you’re at the shopping mall and enjoying your day while your vehicle sits in the parking garage, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your vehicle is fully charged before you leave. In the same way that you charge a tablet or a phone, EVs fit neatly into your routine of charging your most important daily tools every night.

A blue 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 Electric Vehicle is shown from the rear at an angle.

Does This Mean Eventual Obsolescence?

Because vehicles like the ID.4 are more computers than ever before, this begs the question: does this mean eventual obsolescence? After all, the computer or phone you currently own or are reading this article from is likely not from ten or more years ago. Upgrading is par for the course, but unlike most technology, cars won’t become obsolete as fast as your smartphone. As proof of that, the ID.4 comes with a four-year or 50,000-mile limited warranty and an eight-year or 100,000-mile battery warranty. That’s actually twice as long as the powertrain coverage that comes with the gasoline-powered vehicles from Volkswagen. In fact, the long-term durability and factory support that you will enjoy with this electric vehicle may be what feels least like a computer about it.

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