Volkswagen Won't Build Any ID.4 R Variant and There's a Simple Reason for That

Volkswagen won’t build any ID.4 R variant 6 photos
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Volkswagen won’t build any ID.4 R variantVolkswagen Golf RVolkswagen Golf RVolkswagen Golf RVolkswagen Golf R
Volkswagen sells its sportiest models under the “R” badge, but there’s not a single electric model wearing the R moniker. As Volkswagen R boss Reinhold Ivenz explains, there’ll be no MEB-based performance vehicle because the batteries won’t support it.
Electric vehicles usually boast insane power figures, and Tesla Model S Plaid shows what instant torque can do to one’s spine. Nevertheless, European car makers don’t offer comparable power levels to their EVs. Most of them top at around 150 horsepower, a value typical for family cars sold on the Old Continent. An electric racer from Volkswagen might take a long time, even though the German automaker has a whole division dedicated to the job.

The Volkswagen R division is responsible for developing the sportiest models in the lineup, starting with the Golf R and going to the expensive Arteon R. Even though the department contemplates going all-electric by 2030, along with the rest of the Volkswagen lineup, no ID R models are in development. In an interview with AutoExpress, the Volkswagen R boss explained that current batteries used by the MEB platform prevent any sportier variants from being developed.

“We discussed several concepts in the MEB world, and we are not confident with what we can do with the battery at the moment,” Volkswagen R boss Reinhold Ivenz told Auto Express. “If we want a specific MEB R model, it would need its own battery, which is so expensive, so we are not planning such a car at the moment.”

The most powerful variant of its ID electric vehicles is the Volkswagen ID.4 GTX, with 295 horsepower. Although it sounds like a lot, they are not enough to grant the R badge to a heavy electric car. According to Ivenz, an electric vehicle that could do 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) in less than 4.0 seconds needs at least 500 horsepower, and the current MEB batteries would not cope well with this power level.

Ivenz also revealed that a concept car is in the cards for 2024, previewing future electric R models. It will most likely be built on the future Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), which will underpin Volkswagen electric vehicles from 2026. Like the Porsche Taycan (and rival Hyundai Ioniq 5), it will feature an 800-volt electrical architecture to enable ultra-fast charging rates.

Another key take from the interview is that, despite starting earlier, Volkswagen is a couple of steps behind Hyundai. Both carmakers now use LG Chem batteries, but only Hyundai plans a sporty N version of its EV. It’s interesting to see how the Koreans managed to offer a 600-horsepower electric racer while Volkswagen thinks it cannot be done. The aforementioned 800-volt architecture might be the answer, allowing double the power for the same current draw.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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