Daniel DiManna
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A Look at the VW ID.4’s Coasting Function

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The VW ID.4 at sunset
Braking in the ID.4 feels a lot like braking in a gas-powered vehicle, and that’s intentional
Photo: Volkswagen

It’s pretty safe to say that Volkswagen’s new all-electric SUV, the ID.4, has taken the world by storm. After a number of delays throughout 2020, the highly anticipated vehicle finally made its debut later in the year. The ID.4 is a unique vehicle in many ways, but one of its most unexpectedly intriguing aspects is how it uses — and doesn’t use — regenerative braking. It’s time to take an up-close look at the ID.4’s coasting function.

Up Close and Personal: The 2021 ID.4

A look at the ID.4’s coasting function

If you’ve ever driven an electric vehicle, you’re likely familiar with the concept of regenerative braking. Briefly, when a driver lifts their foot off the accelerator pedal, the loss of pressure triggers the recovery of electricity and automatic deceleration. This “one-pedal style” of driving is a defining characteristic in most EVs. However, this isn’t the case in Volkswagen’s ID.4.

In a recent press release, VW described the results of removing one’s foot from the right pedal as a “difficult philosophical question.” To that end, the automaker designed the ID.4 to work in much the same way as a standard gas-powered vehicle. When the driver moves their foot, the ID.4 will coast instead of applying regenerative braking.

In addition to the ID.4’s coasting function, the EV does still feature regenerative braking. However, the feature now activates when the left/brake pedal is used, giving the driver a deceleration experience that’s practically identical to that of a gas vehicle.

The reasoning behind this function was, in VW’s words, to make the driving experience more “predictable.” Predictability, familiarity, and driver comfort are expected to play a massive part in the ID.4’s success, especially given its competition. With VW hoping to pit their electric SUV against gas-powered mainstays from the likes of Toyota, Honda, and Chevy, keeping the driving experience as “normal” as possible is a smart move.

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The ID.4 is currently available for purchase, and will begin production on U.S. soil later this year.