At Capistrano VW, we’re ready for the future. There’s more than one way to fuel a car. Emissions-free electric propulsion is getting better than ever and Volkswagen has become a leader in the EV field. The ID series of vehicles introduces many great reasons to drive electric. Maybe you like the quiet interior. Maybe you like the seamless power. Perhaps you’re entranced by the mechanical simplicity. You should be proud to be polluting less, but for many people, the number one reason to drive electric to save money.
Why should you drive electric? You will save money on fuel and maintenance, but will that offset the cost of a new car? Start by documenting how much you drive and calculate how much your current car is really costing you. Throw in your car payment, anticipated maintenance, possible surprise repairs. Calculate your overall cost of ownership. Now consider how switching to an ID.4 could be a great idea.
What You’re Getting
The ID.4 is the world hugging green car the hippie Microbus dreamed of being. It’s a five-seat SUV, just like so many of the planet’s most popular vehicles. It fits the footprint and needs of the modern family. It’s not a small, weird future mobile. It’s just like what so many are already driving until you push the accelerator.
Electric acceleration is difficult to compare to gas power. First of all, EVs don’t have power bands. There is no sweet spot, where the motor has most of its power. It’s all sweet spot and you can tell the moment you step on it. Turbo lag is for other cars. Also, you only have one gear because that’s all you need. When other cars shift to second, the ID.4 just keeps accelerating. The rear-wheel drive single motor versions provides 201 horsepower. The all-wheel drive dual-motor model delivers 302 and can tow 2700 pounds. The 77 kWh battery pack will power the ID.4 for up to 250 miles. The ID.4 is rated at 104 MPGe city and 89 MPGe highway. That might be five to ten times what you’re getting, so put that in your calculations.
What You’re not Getting
Many of the systems essential to internal combustion engines are unnecessary and therefore missing in an electric car. The average ICE is about 20% efficient, meaning only one-fifth of the energy in the fuel becomes power to the road. The other 80% becomes wasted friction, noise, and heat. Because of the friction, you need quarts of oil flowing through the engine at all times. Because of the noise, you need a muffler and a cabin designed to deaden sound. Because of all the heat, you need a radiator and cooling system. At least all that heat comes in handy in the winter.
Electric vehicle motors operate at about 80-90% efficiency. Most of the power in the battery becomes torque to the street. The ID.4 recovers kinetic energy from stopping with a regenerative braking system, which handles much of the braking before applying the mechanical brakes. It sends the recovered energy back to the battery. The traditional brake pads do less work day after day, vastly extending their life. The ID.4 therefore can function perfectly with a smaller mechanical brake system. It also has no cooling system, muffler, or exhaust pipe at all.
That means less weight to carry, more space for passengers, fewer systems to maintain, and fewer things to break. However, since an EV doesn’t constantly pump excess heat, you will need to use battery energy to heat the interior. Because of the abundant torque, the ID.4 needs no gears or clutch. To go backwards, it doesn’t shift into reverse. The engine just turns backwards. An EV runs like a digital watch: precise and effective. A car with an ICE still ticks and tocks and needs to be wound.
When considering the overall price of electricity over fossil fuel, know that you’ll never need to repair or fix a cooling system or a transmission. You’ll never have an anti-freeze leak or change the oil. Much of the routine maintenance and inconvenient surprises attached to gas and diesel vehicles do not exist with electric ones. Therefore, they’ll never cost you money. With an EV, mostly the costs you see are the costs you get.
Where do You get Your Electricity?
This is an important question regarding both cost and cleanliness of EV ownership. Electricity can be dirty. Burning coal is still a common means of producing electricity, so your clean car may be running on dirty watts. Check with the EPA to find out the sources for your power. Hopefully it’s a majority of solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, and other green sources. It can always be cleaner, so be vocal to your local utilities about your desire for cleaner power.
You can take control of your power by adding solar to your property. Research it right along with your new car. Many companies in your area are ready to not only install your solar system, but also compute how long before the system pays for itself. Investigate government incentives at local, state, and national levels. The price of 220 volt charging equipment, solar upgrades, and more are often heavily supported. It may be much cheaper than you think.
How Much Can You Save?
Of course, it’s impossible for this article to estimate your specific costs, but tools are abundant. Many scientists, engineers, and environmentalists have built calculators and web services to help. If your current car is not expensive to own and burns a responsible amount of fuel, perhaps keeping it for now is the best choice. If your vehicle uses too much fuel, needs too much maintenance, isn’t reliable, or just isn’t punchy, you might be ready to drive electric.
The ID.4 is a tremendous addition to the Volkswagen family. We know switching to electric driving is a big adjustment, but Capistrano VW is here to address all of your questions and concerns. If you’re in Irvine, Mission Viejo, Santa Ana, or the greater Los Angeles area, come by and drive the ID.4. You won’t look at cars the same again.
Image via Flickr by denniselzinga