It used to be the standard practice with just about every EV out there that any purchase would come with a free standard level 1 charging cable. This would offer up to 5 miles of range per hour of charging at the most, and could plug into a regular 120-volt household outlet. However, things have been changing somewhat in the industry, with many OEMs, including Tesla, moving away from offering level 1 charging options as standard.
Why is the change occurring? Chiefly it’s due to the fact that level 1 household outlet charging isn’t suitable for the now much larger ranges of typical EVs. Using a standard-issue level 1 cable on a Volkswagen ID.4, for example, would take something like 80 hours to charge from zero to full. That’s okay if you don’t need your car at all for 4 days, but who does that apply to?
In today’s blog, we want to take a closer look at the Volkswagen ID range in particular and see where they are at with their cable offerings. One of the biggest takeaways from this should be the stark differences that exist between the US and European markets in particular.
VW ID Family in the US Market – What Charging Cables are Included?
To date, the US market has not yet been as blessed as other markets when it comes to model choice. Right now, the only Volkswagen ID model available for purchase is the VW ID.4, and even supplies of those SUV models are being severely impacted by the global semiconductor shortage. The company is also planning the release of the VW ID.Buzz electric van, but details on that vehicle for the US market are not fully available.
So, the US market VW ID family offering currently includes:
- VW ID.4
- VW ID.Buzz
Currently, the ID.4 is offered with a standard 120-volt level 1 charging cable as a standard feature. If you want to charge on a level 2 home charging wall box system, then you have to purchase one of those separately. One California-based VW Dealership says that this level 1 charger only offers 2 miles of range per charging hour. That means a lot of hours plugged in should you need to fully charge the vehicle.
The VW ID.4 is compatible with virtually all brands of level 2 home charging systems, including the Tesla-brand system. These chargers come with charging cables included, usually, so there’s no need to worry about getting new cables for these, and the car is ready to accept a standard J1772 connector, and is compatible with DC charging options up to 124 kW officially, though tests have shown it can handle up to 131 kW. Once again, DC cables, as with level 2 public charging cables, are most often provided at the machine so you don’t need to plug yourself in using your own cable.
Purchasing a spare level 2 cable to keep in the trunk might not be a bad idea, however, in the event that you need to plug in somewhere that doesn’t offer an attached cable in its level 2 facility.
VW ID Family in the European Market – What Charging Cables are Included?
Firstly, the Volkswagen ID electric vehicle family is a lot larger in Europe than it is in the US. From the compact ID.3 up to the ID.Buzz van, drivers in Europe have quite a lot of choice. The charging system has also undergone a lot of changes in Europe, which means changes being made to the standard cable offering as well.
The European market VW ID family offering currently includes:
- VW ID.3
- VW ID.4
- VW ID.5
- VW ID.Buzz
The ID.3 is a compact model similar in size and scope to the VW Golf GTI. Both the ID.4 and ID.5 models are SUV-like in their styling, while the ID.Buzz is an homage (with many, many updates) to the classic VW Van, offering family-friendly features and lots of storage, as well as great potential for RV conversion.
So, for the European market, what cables are typically offered? Like the US market, it was normal to offer a level 1 outlet that was suitable for home outlets as a standard cable until about 2019. Vehicles from VW that were electric but not part of the ID family such as the e-Golf were offered between 2014 and 2019 with a standard level 1 charging cable that one could plug into a standard 240-volt outlet — yes, 240 volts is the standard in Europe, and much of the world, in fact.
After 2019, however, as the industry standard started to move toward the type 2 cables (and away from J1771, or type 1), these became the standard offering. People wanting to purchase slow “granny charger” type units can still do so, and they will invariably work, but of course will still only offer the same 2-5 miles of range per charging hour. For some, that remains a good option to keep as a backup, and so many still take to platforms like Amazon to purchase a level 1 charger to keep in the trunk to use in emergencies when traveling, or in the garage at home as a backup system or a way to charge up when no one is in such a hurry. After all, slower charging is much better for overall battery health and longevity.
As with the US market, it’s not typical to offer anything related to level 3 DC charging with a car purchase since these cables are always attached to the DC fast charging unit. The advantage that European buyers have is that if they buy a level 2 home charging solution to use at their place of residence or business, then it too will come with a type 2 cable, allowing them to instead keep their standard-issue cable in their trunk or elsewhere in the car for greater convenience. Should they come across a public charging station with no attached cable, they can just use their own.