After the Audi Q4 e-tron, it’s up to the Volkswagen ID.4 to skip the heat pump. A choice by the German brand, which continues to suffer fully from the shortage of semiconductors.
Will we ever get out of this forever? For almost three years now, the automotive industry has been heavily penalized by a significant shortage of semiconductors, caused by the Covid-19 epidemic and the successive lockdowns. In fact, many factories had been closed then, pausing the production of components that are essential for the manufacture of cars. If today the situation has improved slightly, manufacturers continue to suffer from this shortage, which could end in 2024 according to some specialists.
a pending option
Result, production times for new cars are getting longer, while these are directly affected by the lack of semiconductors. These are ubiquitous in vehicles, be it for screens and all electronic systems, right down to heated seats. So much so that some manufacturers had even closed their factories at the height of the crisis, such as the Volkswagen group, which had suspended production of its ID.3 and ID.4 as well as the Cupra Born at its Zwickau headquarters.
Today, the situation has slightly improved, while the auto market is also beginning to recover. But not everything is back to normal yet. Then, brands must make decisions and temporarily remove certain options from their catalog, in order to reduce waiting times for customers. And among those that have been withdrawn from sale, we can mention the heat pump.
At Audi, for example, it is currently no longer available on the Q4 e-tron for a few days worldwide. In France, the brand specifies that this device can no longer be ordered indefinitely. But the SUV with the rings is not the only one concerned, since now it is also the turn of the Volkswagen ID.4, as the site states. drive tesla. It is enough to take a look at the configurator to realize that the heat pump is simply not available anymore. Volkswagen’s other electric cars appear to be affected as well.
We were able to contact Volkswagen France, which gives us some additional details, explaining that certain options slow down production times a lot. And to better satisfy customers, Volkswagen adjusts certain options on vehicles to ensure production as soon as possible, and the heat pump option is one of them.
What impact for customers?
Everything indicates that the heat pump will be replaced by a classic resistance heating system, as is the case with the Audi Q4 e-tron. But then what will this change concretely for customers? If an email from the German brand and forwarded by Drive Tesla Canada He affirmed that the absence of this system would not have an impact on autonomy, nothing less true.
In fact, the heat pump is precisely designed to optimize the consumption of electric cars. To do this, this device uses the cold air of the environment to transform it into warm air, using the calories contained in the latter. It is also possible to do the reverse in summer, using the same operation. It should be noted that even without the heat pump option, the car is equipped with a compressor for air conditioning in summer that performs the same function. It is therefore in winter that a difference in autonomy will be felt.
Thus, this option, offered in many models such as the new redesigned DS 3 E-Tense, the Renault Mégane E-Tech or the Kia EV6, reduces consumption between 3 and 4 times compared to conventional heating. Indeed, then only 500 watts are needed on average to operate the heat pump, compared to 2,000 to 3,000 for a resistance system.
Logically, this therefore affects the fuel consumption of the vehicleand on their autonomy. And if this is not seen in the data announced by the manufacturers, it is because the certification tests for the WLTP cycle are carried out without using heating or air conditioning. The goal is not to take temperature management into account.
As a reminder, the Volkswagen ID.4 claims a range of between 345 and 520 kilometers depending on the version. If nothing has been confirmed by the brand yet, ID.3 and ID.5 should also be affected by the unavailability of the heat pump, while this is also not visible in the configurator.
It is also possible that this shortage of heat pumps affects other manufacturers. So be careful, if you are buying a new car with a heat pump, to confirm the presence of it when ordering and when receiving the car.
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