VW Shares Ideas About What To Do While Your ID.4 Charges (& Then I Share My Worse Ideas)
In a recent press release, Volkswagen shared five things you can do while the ID.4 charges at DC fast charge stations. Unlike a gas-powered car, you can’t just refuel it and get back on the road in 5 minutes, but with 125 kW charging, it’s not like you have to wait for 8-10 hours or anything. That 30-45 minutes spent sitting at Walmart or wherever Electrify America put the chargers is still something people will need to fill with something.
I’ll go through those real quick, and then offer some of my own hard-learned ideas.
The Situation Has Improved Drastically
Before I get to those, let’s talk a bit about the ID.4 and fast charging cars whose names don’t start with a “T” and end in “esla.” In the past, it was a pretty miserable experience because the availability of chargers sucked. You’d have to go way out of your way to get to one, and on many routes, there just weren’t any. The early non-Tesla charging stations were mostly put in larger cities, and whole states were often left without a single one.
Interstate road trips? Fugghedaboutit!
Now that Electrify America has filled in the gaps along most interstates, a vehicle with 200+ miles of range can go out into the hinterlands a lot easier. there are still huge regions where charging isn’t available, but the situation is far, far better today than it’s ever been. Other networks like EVgo and Chargepoint are also working on filling in other gaps, and that’s a big help.
The time is coming that non-Tesla EVs will be able to go just about anywhere a Tesla can without spending overnights at level 2 charger stations, and that’s a good thing for EV adoption.
But (there’s always at least one of these, and it’s often a big one), the ID.4 has about the same charging rate as a pre-2020 Tesla Model X or Model S. That’s not bad by EV standards, but it’s still a lot of time to sit and wait if you’re a person used to driving gas-powered cars that can fuel up and add 100 miles of range in 5 minutes.
Rest & Relax
This is the obvious one. It takes 2-3 hours to drain that battery down (faster if you drive really fast), so you’ll probably be ready for a break. “In the ID.4, drivers and front-seat passengers can retract the sunshade of the available panoramic fixed glass roof and use the available six-way adjustable seats with power recline to get comfortable,” VW says.
They then suggest going for a walk and stretching your legs. And yes, it’s good for the body to do that, as long as you get back in time and don’t leave your vehicle clogging up a DCFC space someone else may need. What they don’t tell you is that Electrify America (like Tesla) will hit your credit card for some more scratch if you do that. So be back.
Enjoy In-Car Entertainment
If you feel another ad coming, you’re right. For this bullet-point, VW is going to tell us about another ID.4 feature. “Take advantage of the Car-Net Wi-Fi Hotspot stream your favorite movie or television show on up to four compatible devices. Don’t worry about getting distracted – the Electrify America app will send you a notification once your vehicle has reached your desired charging level.”
Indulge In a Massage
You guessed it, another ID.4 feature: “A premier available feature of the ID.4 are its front seats with built-in, four-way massage lumbar and memory. After several hours of driving, a massage might just what you need to get back in action. Take it a step further by activating the 30-color ambient lighting option for a fun and full sensory experience.”
I do have to admit, though, that’s pretty cool.
Stop & Shop
This one didn’t include a VW ID.4 feature. The company points out that DC fast charging stations are often installed near stores (often a Walmart). That means you can go shop, get a bite to eat, or find something else to do in the nearby shops. If nothing else, the Walmart Deli has some snacks you can buy.
My Own Infinitely Worse Ideas
As the owner of a 2018 Nissan LEAF, I know what it’s like to wait at a charger. And wait. And wait. If Nissan had written this press release, I would have put “120 Minutes” in the opening graphic. While the 60 Minutes show could give you twice as much news in that time, most people are ready to get on the road again.
With the exception of the massaging seat idea (my LEAF no have massage chair), I’ve done pretty much all of this. I’ve napped, I’ve gone out to eat (too much), and I’ve walked around the mall parking lot while the Tesla owners across the parking lot appropriately turned their noses up at me, the peasant. Especially those with a Model X, to whom I’m a double peasant.
Here are some of my horrible ideas:
Bring An Electric Scooter
In theory, an electric scooter makes it easier to go further away while your EV charges. You can get to more restaurants than the usual ones, which is a good thing…until that Blink station near Sky Harbor decides it wants to stop for some unknown reason. Sure, you can just restart the charging session and keep charging, but not when you’re a 10-minute scooter ride away. From then on, I stuck with eating Subway, which is probably better for me.
Pee In A Bottle
I was once at a DC fast charging station in the middle of the night, and everything was closed for like a mile. Like an Amazon driver, I was left with little choice, and things didn’t go well. Fortunately, most Electrify America stations are near a place that’s open 24-hours (when there’s not a pandemic), so this won’t be a problem for most people going forward.
Build A Bed In Your Car
This one worked out OK, actually, but it was cramped. I put an air mattress in the back of my Nissan LEAF and slept inside of it at an RV park in Arizona. I slept OK, but fell out on the ground when I tried to escape from this pod. Now you know why I’m so interested in getting a travel trailer for rural EV travels. One again, Electrify America saves us from having to do stuff like this.
Volkswagen’s ideas may be cheesy and a stealth advert for the ID.4’s features, but its ideas are far better than mine. Let’s stick with those!
Featured image by Volkswagen, 60 Minutes, Jennifer Sensiba (Fair Use, Parody)