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With electric cars, maximum energy efficiency is its main goal, and the ID.4's concept is to convert waste kinetic energy into electrical energy.

17 Dec 2020 | International News : Germany

Brake energy recuperation, or in other words energy recovery when decelerating, greatly boosts the range of any electric vehicle. In the new Volkswagen ID.4, this follows a concept aimed at maximum efficiency.

So what should happen when drivers of electric vehicles take their foot off the pedal to initiate a thrust phase? Should the electric drive motor act as an generator, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy, or should it run without generating electrical energy, so that the vehicle's momentum is used for coasting?

A chart from Volkswagen describing the way the ID.4 recoups energy from braking
The answers to these questions vary greatly depending on manufacturer and model. Some electric vehicles always recover energy during any thrust phase.

In the case of the ID.4 and the ID.3, Volkswagen opted for a different, more efficient strategy. Coasting has priority because any conversion of energy inevitably leads to loss. This applies to position D (Drive), the main mode, which is automatically activated upon each start.

Up to around 0.25g, or during the majority of everyday braking manoeuvres, the electric drive motor performs the braking alone, while the electric brake servo only activates the wheel brakes in situations demanding more deceleration.

The ID.4 features predictive Eco Assistance as standard, and provide drivers with effective support in driving efficiently and in a relaxed way. Once the ID.4 approaches a zone requiring slow speeds - such as built-up areas, junctions or bends - Eco Assistance notifies drivers to take their foot off the accelerator pedal.

When switched to position B (Brake), the ID.4's drive almost always recovers energy during thrust operation, but not up until the vehicle has come to a standstill. The limit has been set at 0.13g - enough for clearly noticeable deceleration, yet insufficient to give the distinctive feeling of using merely the accelerator pedal to accelerate and brake the vehicle.

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