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What Happens When Your Volkswagen ID.4 Dies?

What Happens When Your Volkswagen ID.4 Dies?

We ran an ID.4 all the way to empty to find out

  • We drove a Volkswagen ID.4 until its battery died to see what would happen
  • Even after the indicated range hits zero, a small buffer gives you time to get to a safe spot

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is the brand's latest electric vehicle, succeeding the e-Golf from a few years ago. Unlike the e-Golf, the ID.4 was built from the ground up to be an EV, so you can think of it as Volkswagen's first real shot over Tesla's bow.

The ID.4's EPA-estimated range of 250 miles isn't as impressive as that of many Teslas, but in Edmunds' real-world EV testing, our editors recorded a 287-mile range, an improvement of 15%. Today's longest-range EVs can comfortably exceed 300 miles, but Volkswagen is hot on their heels.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4.

While the ID.4's range credentials are impressive, there will always be someone who wants to push the limits of its battery or who simply doesn't do a great job of mapping out charging stations on a road trip. These drivers might encounter a situation where the indicated remaining range hits zero.

So what happens next? How much longer do you have before the battery gives up the ghost? That's what our experts were determined to find out.

What happens when my Volkswagen ID.4's battery dies?

The Volkswagen ID.4's battery indicator shows both remaining miles and an icon representing battery life. It's located at the bottom center of the instrument panel. If you're looking for the battery percentage, that is found in the vehicle information menu in the center screen.

As the ID.4's battery charge dwindles, the vehicle issues a number of audible alerts. We noted that the Volkswagen began chiming when the battery showed an estimated 20% of range remaining.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 - Center Console.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4 - Center Console.

But even when the indicated range hits zero, there's still hope for you to get home or to a charge point. In our testing, the ID.4 was able to maintain our preset highway speed of 65 mph for 9.4 miles after the dreaded "0 miles" display appeared. At the 9.4-mile mark, the vehicle's speed began to slow as the ID.4's battery could no longer maintain a highway speed. But even then, the VW traveled another 3.5 miles before it ground to a halt.

What should I do if my Volkswagen ID.4 dies?

The good news is that the ID.4 won't die without giving you plenty of advance notice. And even when the vehicle announces that you've got zero miles left, there are likely a few miles in reserve that you can use to find a safe stopping place.

Now, should you count on these buffer miles in normal driving? Absolutely not. But it's nice to know they're there in case of emergency.

As for what happens next, while the technology exists for a tow truck to be equipped with an onboard power generator, there aren't enough of them out on the road to count on. Chances are that a standard tow truck will arrive to help you transport the ID.4 to your home or the nearest charging station.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4.

There are a couple of things to note on the towing front. First, you'll need to shift your ID.4 into neutral in order to move it. Thankfully, the ID.4's 12-volt battery should provide enough power to facilitate the shift. You will also need to sit in the driver's seat for the ID.4 to stay in neutral; otherwise, it will go back into the parked setting. In other words, if you need to push your ID.4 to get it off the road, you'll need an extra person to assist.

Once the ID.4 is hooked up to the tow vehicle, the only remaining task is to take it to the nearest charge station, plug it in and wait. Note that it could take a while to charge back up since the battery has been fully discharged. If you have a fast-charging station nearby, this will be the ideal option.

Edmunds says

Running the battery empty in a Volkswagen ID.4 is a lot more problematic than running out of gas, but the vehicle will provide ample warning and has a reserve range built in. We hope you'll never have to use this information in the real world, but if you do, our test results should give you some peace of mind in a stressful situation.