Car talk

Three Weeks with the ID.4

During the three weeks that the ID.4 has been a member of the Dismal Manor Gang, it has made some good impressions and we’ve discovered the common annoyances.

Dismal Manor Gang has used its VW AWD Pro S ID.4 for about 3 weeks. We’re about to start paying down the loan and we’re making an effort to go out on pleasure drives with the dogs as the weather and other activities permit. During this period, we’ve formed some more detailed impressions of the vehicle.



Take reviews with a bit of salt

YouTube and the World Wide Web are a rough and tumble place. Some content is trustworthy. More content is sensational or outright propaganda. And car review videos are based on a few hours with an unfamiliar vehicle. Mistakes happen. Bad first impressions happen.

Getting views requires a hook and bait

Take online views with a grain of salt. First, each review be it a YouTube video or a website post needs a hook to get you to actually open the review. The hook is almost always sensational and unrepresentative of the actual content.

Press Cars

Most reviewers are writing about cars they don’t actually own. They’re writing about loaners, be they press cars or a friend or family car. Typically, they have the car for a few hours in which they have to get to know the car, come up with an outline and story boards, and shoot the supporting video. In post production, they can add voice overs to replace on camera rambling.

Hidden Agendas

It is not unheard of for YouTube reviews to be bespoke propaganda. I encounter this most often in clean energy but increasingly in automotive videos.

ID.4’s First Impression Problem

VW made several design choices that make the ID.4 unfriendly to the operator in a hurry. These choices have tripped up Sandy Munro of Munro Live and Engineering Explained presenter Jason. What appears to be happening is that vehicle controls that appear to be familiar actually behave differently than the established practice. These little things make a rough first impression.

Sandy’s preference is to hop in a vehicle, set the seats, set the mirrors, set the climate control, set the radio and drive off. When he has to fumble around to do these things, he becomes cross with the vehicle and it takes some time for him to recover and look past the first impression made preparing the vehicle to roll off.

Car guys like Sandy and Jason appear to like a cheap thrill or two. A vigorous launch or a peaky torque curve to make the vehicle feel fast. I think both were expecting BMW 3-Series performance from VW’s CRV/RAV4 small family hauler. Or maybe GTI agility from a car 500-600 Kilos heavier. The ID4 is peppy and agile for a family hauler but it’s no GTI or M-3.

The Mirrors

The ID.4 appears to have the traditional knob and joy stick mirror controls. Left, off, Right, correct? Surprise, in stead of having a 3 position switch operating two contact inputs to decode, the mirror control works like a radio volume control. Turn to the right to pick left mirror, right mirror, deicing on, and again to stow the mirrors. Actually, this works either way.

Once you know, its simple. Until you let go the traditional mirror control expectations, its damned annoying.

Auto Stowing Mirrors in the Winter?

Disable mirror automatic stow on locking during the winter. Water gets into the mirror and freezes. Operating the mirror stow while frozen can break the mirror stow drive. Not a cheap fix. The mirror is the field replaceable unit.

The Windows

There are only two window buttons. For left and right to lower the first row windows. A third button puts them in Back mode. to lower the second row windows. I have dogs. How do I put the back row window controls in off mode so the dogs can’t step on a button, lower the window, and go walkabout? Push the child safety lock icon on the locks and mirrors control panel. It will illuminate when the 2nd row door locks and window controls are disabled.

Cabin Comfort Controls

There’s a shortcut to several of the menus between the screen and the sliders. Unfortunately, the labels are too small and there are no tactical differentiators provided to permit touch identification as with elevator controls and submarine ballast control panel toggle switches (each handle has a unique shape that we memorize). So the first time driver has to fumble to open the climate control menu.

Read the fine manual

Its 300 pages of tissue and small print. The index gets you lost. But VW has the manual on [1]. You’ll need your VIN handy so the manual for your model and locale can be retrieved. The manual has a nice outline table of contents in the right sidebar. A few of the sections have odd titles and international English rather than American English is used so look up puncture to learn about dealing with a flat tire. The section on towing dos and don’ts is a bit hidden also. Fortunately, the manual has a nice search feature that works well if you remember to use international English rather than country-specific English.

The ID.4 is not quite finished

The ID.4 was released before the charging software supporting IEC plug and charge was finished. Also before time of day scheduled charging was finished. The manual section is there. The dialogs are there. They don’t quite work.

How to Charge in early 2022

Scheduled charging is not finished. Attempts to use it result in the following behavior by the car.

  1. The vehicle will start charging and charge to the immediate charge limit (recommended 20%).
  2. The charge will stop at the limit. The vehicle will begin waiting for the charge start time (midnight) to finish the charge on the base load utility tariff.
  3. Before the overnight rate starts, the vehicle turns off. Nothing wakes it for the start of the base load charge.

The current workaround is to

  1. pick your home location,
  2. Uncheck the departure times
  3. Uncheck the charging hours
  4. Plug in the vehicle at the time you wish to start charging
  5. Tell the EVSE to turn the power on. This is app-specific.

Over the air update to fix in the spring

A coming over the air update promises full support for international standard International Electro-technical Committee (IEC) charging management. This standard covers vehicle authentication, payment credentials and billing, charging power specifications and limits, and timed charging. Rumor has it that this update was released in Europe. It is expected here in a few months.

Does your utility offer IEC Demand Management?

Dominion Power in Virginia does not. My Wallbox Pulsar EVSE supports IEC standards or will with a firmware update which Wallbox is good about pushing. Hopefully when the VW update is on board and the EVSE is updated, delayed charging will work correctly So I don’t have to go out to plug up the vehicle at the start of cheap power.

Dominion is using a contractor to provide demand management as a service. Dominion has a pilot program underway. They have not opened demand management to their smart-metering time-of-use rate customers

Why Isn’t the Online Manual in the Car?

The online manual is actually useful. Its the same as the printed one but I can make it readable and I can search it. The infotainment system could easily incorporate international info symbols (a lower case i in a circle) that take you to the proper section explaining the portion of the HMI (human-machine interface) that you are using. A separate manual home screen item would let you brows the table of contents outline or search for a term. If really cleaver, you could enter the locale term (flat) and the manual would find the parts about punctures. It might even have a cross reference of these and a glossary! The work is mostly done. Its just a matter of storage and adding an HTML rendering widget.

Dogs in Das Auto

So far, the dogs like Das Auto. Rocky can stand up straight. Rocky can ride shotgun in the second row while Missy has a luxury suite in the WayBack, I guess it would be the boot.

There’s no Bonnet Storage

Ever take a food thief dog on a grocery shop? If you do, don’t put groceries and dog in the same part of the car. A secure storage compartment under the bonnet is nice but ID.4 does not offer bonnet storage. This saves some money as the bonnet can be a traditional unbalanced bonnet with prop rod and VW can make front assembly easier.

But there’s only a little boot storage, mostly for car tools, granny cable, and such. Oh, and its under the dog in the WayBack. So access requires unloading and loading the dog in the WayBack.

They Fit

Twenty-nine inch Rocky can stand up straight. Both can ride together in comfort with Row 2 down. Rocky can ride in Row 2 with the seat up. Missy likes having the WayBack to herself. The ride is smooth after launch. The ID.4 pulls strongly so they rock a bit on launch.

ID.4 Christened

Rocky nicked a bag of muesli and tried to snaffle it. So I called poison control, gave peroxide to make him toss his ill-gotten gains, and waited the recommended interval for results.

Nothing came up. So I loaded Rocky up for a vet run to the after hours. While calling the after hours vet, up it comes onto the WayBack finish stuff. So I mopped up, treated with Scout’s Honor, and things look pretty good. It may need a vacuuming with the upholstery tool to get any dried particulate out. But it looked pretty good the next morning.

Orvis Covers

Just before Rocky tossed, the Postie delivered the WayBack cover that I ordered from Orvis. These are nice quilted fitted covers that are machine washable and resistant to most anything a field dog can track on the load up to go home. The rear one has a fold out apron that covers the bumper and hatch sill so feet are not slipping on the sill trim.

Orvis tells me that the second row cover was just delivered. I’ll install it today.

By davehamby

A modern Merlin, hell bent for glory, he shot the works and nothing worked.