Whereas driving round in Volkswagen’s latest electrical car, the ID.4 compact SUV, for the previous few days, I used to be bombarded with an info overload from two totally different screens behind the steering wheel and one on the middle dashboard. However there was one sudden alert system that proved to be much less overwhelming and even calming: a silent, pulsating light strip.
The EV, which arrives subsequent month, will topic drivers to a host of sensory distractions, a few of which embrace notices on battery vary, velocity, vibration alerts when the automotive veers into the highway shoulder, a wi-fi charging notification for smartphones, at the moment taking part in music or podcast tracks, and your present driving route, amongst others.
Throughout my check run, I had turned off the disruptive turn-by-turn notifications whereas utilizing Volkswagen’s proprietary map app. However even with the map muted, once I used the Volkswagen navigation system on the 12-inch contact infotainment show, I observed a subtle line of brilliant white light would illuminate the underside sliver of the windshield.
That is the ID.Light, an interactive light strip that is supposed to assist drivers with easy visible cues to point turns or warn you if you happen to’re getting too near the automotive forward. Initially, it appeared like yet one more function vying for my consideration; I did not suppose it might be helpful. Nevertheless it truly helped me focus and tune out the onslaught of digital distractions.
The ID.Light system is included in all variations of the all-electric ID.4, which begins at $39,995 for the bottom “Professional” model. I used to be highway testing the sold-out “1st Version,” which arrives quickly for $43,995 and is rated for 250 miles of vary on a 82 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
With a lot else happening within the automotive to distract my eyes — just like the customizable ambient lighting alongside the dashboard and door panels, and the personalised grid association on the touchscreen interface — I did not actually anticipate to concentrate on the light strip.
However the light bar interacts with you gently and unobtrusively. As a substitute of one other alert or ping, it is a silent, easy pulse, powered by 54 LED lights that illuminate for varied capabilities whereas driving.
When utilizing the voice assistant system, this light bar would vibrate to indicate it was listening. Once I plugged the automotive in at a public station to recharge it, the windshield would light as much as point out it was charging and to indicate the battery degree. When somebody referred to as, the light bar would pulse in tandem with the ringing.
It is throughout navigation, nevertheless, that the ID.Light turns into most helpful. Simply earlier than making a flip, the light would slide throughout the windshield to both the left or the appropriate, relying on the vacation spot. It functioned as a complementary alert to the instructions already displayed on each screens.
At one level throughout a drive, I had unintentionally exited out of map mode whereas arriving at a cease signal. As a substitute of fumbling with the show to swipe again to the map for the following path, I knew to show left as a result of the light bar was pulsating to the left. It is a subtle information, however after utilizing the automotive for a few hours, it is one thing I got here to actually respect.
Volkswagen’s soothing ID.Light system is a welcome respite from the audible pings and bevy of notifications about vary, regenerative braking, and lane-keeping that muddle the EV driving expertise. It’s a contact of zen to an in any other case overwhelming experience.