Electric vehicles may seem like a new development. However, charging Volkswagen’s path to an electric future started long before vehicles like the VW ID.4 became a reality.

And, in the beginning, VW engineers even had an entire island to test the electric vehicle concept.

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Charging Volkswagen’s Path: The Early Days of Electric Vehicle Development

In the 1990s, the German government turned to Volkswagen with a request. They asked the automaker to test the limits of electric vehicle technology. To do this, they created a real-world track on the large island of Rugen in the Baltic Sea. The resort island was perfect for the experiment.

First, it utilized natural sources such as wind to provide power to residents. Further, the terrain was ideal for test driving with the limited range that EVs had at the time. Finally, the vehicles had a low carbon footprint, so testing them on Rugen wouldn’t be detrimental to the island. Therefore, charging Volkswagen’s path toward an electric future started as a partnership with Germany on this beautiful, rugged island.

Charging Volkswagen’s path: The original EVs

Several German carmakers came together to be a part of this research project. In total, they contributed 60 electric vehicles to test on the Rugen track. VW itself made 19 electric cars and vans.

Charging Volkswagen’s path began with the CitySTROMer, which put off just 21 horsepower. However, with a range of 55 miles, it had enough juice to easily make trips around Rugen. As an electric version of the beloved VW Golf, engineers installed an alternating-current synchronous motor along with a specialized battery that could function with various chemical combinations.

VW also sent ten Elektro-Multivans to Rugen, and together, these vehicles shuttled locals between beaches, stores, resorts, and fishing villages. The government kept the experiment going for three years. In the end, they came to several conclusions:

  • Electric vehicles would be more effective once they could travel farther.
  • EVs needed more engine power to safely and efficiently meet the demands of modern driving.
  • EVs couldn’t be viable without charging stations, production plants, and other relevant infrastructure.

Rugen Reloaded: VW’s Modern Electric Vehicles

In just a few decades, electric vehicle development has grown in leaps and bounds. Once the Rugen experiment set the stage for charging Volkswagen’s path, there was no turning back. Now, VW offers the ID.4 electric SUV, a vehicle they produced to meet the demand for a spacious, luxurious SUV that’s cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

The vehicle can charge up to 80 percent of its battery capacity in under an hour. Further, with around 200 horsepower, it packs enough energy for most driving conditions. Looks-wise, the SUV borrows features from the beloved Tiguan, with sleek lines, low-profile wheels, and an aggressive, bold front bumper.

No longer limited to islands such as Rugen, VW’s ID.4 can go up to 260 miles on a single charge. Recharging is easy since the SUV is compatible with the technology at any DC public fast-charging station.


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