The Volkswagen ID.4 makes it strangely hard to use the network that VW created
Since Volkswagen was the company that created the Electrify America network (it’s a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America), you’d think the automaker would have made it easier to connect its own ID.4 model to an EA charger. Where Tesla and Ford offer easy plug-and-charge capability, the ID.4 goes the opposite direction with myriad steps and different forms of communication to start the charging process.
Not only can all those steps be a bit confusing for a newcomer to a charging station, but they create extra opportunities for something to go wrong, too. Whereas the Tesla and Ford simply talk it over with the charger and get to work, the Volkswagen requires you to use the app to select both the location of your station and the specific charger you want to use before the digital handshake can begin. If the app crashes (it happened to us and it can happen to you), you select the wrong charger, or there’s another failure along the way … you can already feel your blood pressure rising.
Recharging your electric vehicle in the U.S. has never been easier, with more than 100,000 charging stations offered by Tesla, Electrify America, ChargePoint and others. But our experiences show there are some wrinkles to be ironed out. Refinements to the Electrify America network and to Volkswagen’s specific charging process are sure to come, but in the meantime, the superiority of Tesla’s massive and long-running Supercharger network is clear. Of course, you shouldn’t encounter difficulties with any EV if you’re plugging it in at your own home, but if you decide to take a road trip, ease of public charging suddenly becomes a major factor. It’s definitely something for EV shoppers to keep in mind.