Six weeks ago national headlines were filled with stories of hundreds of cars stranded in the snow on Interstate 95 in Virginia. Many cars and their passengers went without aid  for 24 hours and more, watching their gas gauges drop as they idled their cars to stay warm in freezing temperatures. 

Almost immediately, the question was raised as to how an all-electric car might manage in such a dire situation. Would it run out of battery power quickly and not be able to keep occupants safe until help arrived? Well, apparently Volkswagen wanted to know as well, and recently tested how long their ID.4 Pro S electric SUV could sustain a comfortable interior climate in subfreezing temperatures.

Volkswagen found the ID.4 Pro S was able to maintain a cabin temperature of 72 degrees fahrenheit for up to 41 hours on a full charge. During the test, exterior temperatures ran around 20 degrees F. The automaker showcased their findings and how they conducted their test in a short video.

The question was simple: what would happen if you were stuck in snow without help in an EV? How long could you stay warm? To test this, VW used a rear-wheel drive version of their ID.4 Pro S electric SUV, which comes equipped with an 82 kWh battery. The setup was simple enough; the vehicle was initially parked for three hours, logging an initial cabin temperature of 55 degrees F. This simulated as if the car had already been driving.

Then, the climate control was set to 72 degrees F. In this scenario, only the driver’s seat was “occupied,” meaning the seat-heater was set to level 1. Additionally, a phone was charging via USB-C.

Results were measured by using the voltage from the battery and the current consumed over three hours. This provided the variables needed to calculate the energy consumption from the voltage and current values. Once expanded upon, the data shows the ID.4 Pro S was capable of maining 72 degrees F for up to 41 hours.

In a “real world” scenario, like in Virginia, there are obviously plenty of other factors to consider, such as fluctuating temperatures outside the vehicle, climate control settings, state of battery charge, battery age and more. Regardless, this test shows the viability EV’s can have in wintery conditions and, specifically, is a testament to the abilities of the ID.4 Pro S.

We recently selected the Volkswagen ID.4 as one of our three “Best EVs” during our Driver’s Choice Awards. As the first vehicle to come out of VW’s “ID” sub-brand, we chose the ID.4 for its overall utility, value and range of up to 260 miles; plus a driving experience that felt more akin to that of an internal combustion engine-powered vehicle.