It's achieved what no production EV has done before.
Over the weekend, Volkswagen participated in the National Off-Road Racing Association (NORRA) Mexican 1000 race, a grueling competition mostly filled with dedicated off-road vehicles. Ford competed as well, ending with a third-place finish in a Bronco. Though the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 didn't earn a podium finish at the event, but simply finishing in a near-stock electric vehicle is impressive.
The ID.4 managed to survive 840 miles of off-road racing, which is more than can be said of the Lordstown Endurance, which gave up after 40 miles in Baja. Driven by brand ambassador Tanner Foust, the ID.4 was one of 64 vehicles out of 90 to finish the NORRA 1000. Off-road racer and automotive journalist Emme Hall helped, completing two stages.
"This was everything we had hoped for," said Foust. "The course was challenging, but the ID.4 was more than up to the tasks we asked of it. This demonstrates the real potential for EV technology to make an impact in all sorts of areas that we have only just begun to explore."
Obviously, the ID.4 could not complete the entire NORRA 1000 on a single charge since the stock 82-kWh battery pack only provides around 260 miles of range on traditional paved roads. This year's race was done in stages, measuring 33 to 167 miles each. VW used a portable biofuel-powered generator connected to a 50 kW flat charger between stages to keep the ID.4's battery full. The charger wasn't always available, so Foust's team flat-towed it behind a chase vehicle with the regenerative brakes turned on.
"This was an exciting test of ID.4 technology because no other production-based EV had ever entered this event, let alone completed it," said Scott Keogh, President, and CEO of Volkswagen of America. "Congrats to our team for demonstrating that EVs can stand up to extreme environments, and showing how fun electric vehicles can be. The ID.4 could definitely be the Baja Bug for the electric age."
We are extremely impressed to see a near-stock EV finish such a tough race. The 201 horsepower electric motor was left untouched, with the only modifications being a racing interior, rally-style coilover suspension, and new wheels and tires.