Volkswagen’s Newest Desert Racer Is an … ID4 Electric SUV?

The electrification of the great outdoors is coming. The new Hummer EV seems to have the Rubicon trail square in its crosshairs, and the as-of-yet unreleased Rivian R1T tackled South America. However, the idea of a an urban EV like the Volkswagen ID4 doing a grueling 1,100 miles off-road with a completely stock powertrain seems, well, a bit more out there.

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But that isn’t going to stop Tanner Foust from getting behind the wheel and Rhys Millen Racing from prepping the ID4 for the NORRA Mexican 1,000 that’s set to take place from April 25–29.

But the ID4 won’t get very far in the race without a little help from Millen and his team. While the 82 kWh battery pack and the single electric motor on the rear axel will be left unchanged, there is some serious work being done to the rest of the SUV. For starters, rally-style coilovers will replace the stock suspension setup and the SUV gets new control arms up front and new boxed lower links at the rear—the result is a 2-inch lift and presumably more articulation. The radiator was moved higher up for better cooling and better approach angles, and 3/8-inch steel skid plates have been added to the belly of the ID4 to protect the battery pack and the rest of its underside. The SUV also now rides on OZ racing 18-inch wheels wrapped in 255/70 Yokohama A/T tires at all four corners.










The interior gets a full roll cage and racing seats, and the HVAC system has been stripped out. Volkswagen says this race is to “show the capabilities and performance of an EV in an extreme environment.” Speaking of capabilities, how will the ID4 recharge? VW will bring along a biofuel-powered 50-kW fast charger, and the company thinks the ID4 should be able to complete all but 2 percent of the stages in this particular race without needing to top up.

Since this is the first production-based EV to run the race, we’ll be eager to see how it does—and if any of the publicity this generates gives the ID4 a boost.

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