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The VW ID4 conjures a throwback to simpler times while protecting the environment, but will it meet the needs of active families? What can a VW ID4 tow?

For many buyers in today’s marketplace, there are more things to consider in purchasing a new EV than just erasing their carbon footprint. The last thing you want to do is invest a lot of money in this new technology, only discovering that the van can’t do what you need. If the electric motor's power struggles under the burden of hauling the family or won’t tow a trailer, what good is it? Especially with a lack of charging stations, you have to be sure that you will not leave your family stranded on the highway halfway to the beach.

The 2022 VW ID4 can tow a braked trailer up to 2,700 lbs (2,200 lbs - RWD models only). The estimated range of the ID4 is 280 miles. Owners typically find the distance is cut in half when towing, so they will need to be aware of the distance before traveling.

While the ID4 won’t set any towing records, it can haul small stuff around town when called on to do so. So, depending on what you put on your trailer and where you are heading, this new entry into the electric world will probably work. But you want to be sure it will meet your family's needs, which means doing a little bit of extra homework. What are some things that can affect the range of electric vehicles? Will there be enough charging stations along the route? What about climate and weather? Do those items affect the range of an EV?

We’ve taken to the internet and VW forums to find the answers. Let’s plow ahead and see if we can’t solve the mystery of how much can a VW ID4 tow?

Table of Contents

What Factors Can Affect the Towing Capacity of an EV?

When determining if an electric vehicle can handle a heavy load, there are several things to consider. Let’s begin with a basic fact concerning the 2022 VW ID4, namely that it has an estimated range of 280 miles. In assessing electric vehicles, the range is an essential factor to know.

The Charge of the Battery

Most range estimates for EVs are based on a full battery charge, but the battery rarely operates with one in the real world. While you might start with a complete charge as you leave your home in the morning, as soon as you press the accelerator, there are demands made on the electrical system. It doesn’t take long for the battery cell to feel the drain and send drivers into a panic as they watch the battery life indicator on their dash begin to fall.

Even with regenerative braking, the battery will not return to full charge during the trip. The drain rate on the battery almost always exceeds the return. Heat dissipation also reduces the car's ability to recapture the energy that it loses during the trip. Even though the car can recapture some kinetic energy, the conversion rate is never 100%.

In practical family terms, this means that you might have the ability to get where you want to go but not able to have enough charge to return home.

The Weight of the Trailer and Equipment

While the VW ID4 can pull a small trailer, most experts believe that towing anything can cut the effective range of an EV by around 50%. (This fact would lower the range of the ID4 to around a 130-140 miles round trip, which severely limits the places you and your family can visit).

An important consideration is not just the weight of the equipment you are towing but also the number of people your new van is hauling. A fully loaded ID4 with family, coolers, and suitcases will also affect the van’s ability to perform and will cut down on the range. While different items have different weights, owners will need to factor those figures into their range calculations and plan their trips accordingly.

Road Conditions

A flat smooth highway is easier for a vehicle to navigate than a muddy or sandy terrain of off-roading. Even though the ID4 has AWD, remember that a vehicle has to use more power on non-pavement surfaces. Because the EV uses more power, less energy is held in reserve for things like making it back home.


Colder weather can also play a role in the distance you can expect to receive from your ID4. Frigid temperatures will cut into the range of 10 - 15%. Suppose your family insists on having the heater on to keep your feet toasty while driving; you can expect to lose about 25%. Bear in mind that colder weather means longer recharging times as well.

To be fair, any vehicle, electric or not, will struggle during colder temperatures. The colder temperatures make the engine components work harder to perform essential functions. An internal combustion engine will also get less MPG when riding in colder weather, although you probably won't lose 50% as you might in a pure EV.

Warmer climates lend themselves to EVs, which is why Californians are leading the charge in purchasing and using these types of vehicles. Most experts aren’t worried about the energy loss in extreme temps because they are confident that science will find answers to improve the efficiency of the batteries that power EVs continually. (But until scientists await the miracles of science, the weather is still a factor for the everyday family vehicle. Your wife will not understand why you were waiting for the technology to improve if you cannot get home).

The Availability of Charging Stations

Considering that it takes 50 hours to recharge an ID4 on average 110 household current, you to plan a trip where a recharging station is accessible. Unless you are planning on going somewhere and parking for a couple of days to be able to charge your VW). A rapid or fast-charging station can fully recharge a VW ID4 in 7.5 hours, but the lack of stations throughout the country means that there is still a chance you could get stranded.

Plugshare can help direct owners to where there are VW compatible charging stations, but many stations are too far apart to be of any use. While VW and other electric companies are committed to increasing the availability of these stations, a lot of progress still needs to be made.

Tesla has allowed VW and other electric vehicles to utilize their network of rapid charging stations. Still, the problem is that special adapters are needed, and most non-Tesla owners do not have them. Tesla brags that it can recharge an EV in about 15 minutes, but for most non-Telsa owners, it takes longer to charge completely. (You should plan on stopping every 100 miles or so to spend about 15-30 minutes waiting for your car to charge). Even if super-charging stations are included, charging an EV takes longer than filling a fuel tank with gasoline. Before hooking up the trailer, every owner should take great care to plan when a family trip for an EV is planned.

What Can a VW ID4 Tow?

About The Author

Matt Meurer

Matt Meurer

Matt is a VW Master Technician since 2009 after proceeding through the ranks as a Team Leader and Shop Foreman. He has developed software to increase car dealership efficiency, managed 10+ techs, and instructed students at multiple high-performance driving events since 2011. He is also the lead mechanic, engineer, and driver for Blue Goose Racing.

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