VW recalls ID.4 for 12V battery issue that can cause short, fire

Volkswagen is recalling a relatively small number of its new ID.4 electric crossovers to address an electrical issue, but not one related to its electric powertrain. This pertains to its old-fashioned 12V battery (yep, EVs still have those). In rear-wheel-drive models of the ID.4, VW says the 12V battery’s charging cable can rub against the steering column, potentially resulting in a short-circuit if the insulation becomes worn. If left unaddressed, it can present a fire risk. The recall covers only 1,042 examples of the EV produced for the 2022-2023 model years; all-wheel drive models are not included. 

“On affected vehicles (rear-wheel drive only), the 12V battery charging cable may contact the steering column shaft, causing the cable insulation to wear through,” VW’s recall report said. “If this happens, it may result in a short circuit. A short circuit can lead to a loss of motive power while driving which increases the risk of a crash. A short circuit in this case also increases the risk of a vehicle fire. The affected cable is a low-voltage cable; therefore there is no risk of a high-voltage electric shock to occupants or servicing technicians. A risk of potential damage to the steering system (due to electrical current passing through) cannot be ruled out.”

VW says the issue stems from a bend in the cable not being located correctly during production, potentially allowing it to contact the column shaft. Only some parts were produced this way, which is why the recall population is so small. Owners of RWD models should look out for warning messages regarding the 12V battery, which can indicate that the problem has already progressed to the point where the insulation is damaged and a short is occurring. In extreme cases, a burning smell or smoke may be present, at which point the car should be parked until it can be serviced. 

Because the defect is associated only with the car’s low-voltage system, which is used to power various non-traction systems on the car, there is no risk of electrocution associated with this issue. Owners should expect to be notified of the campaign by the end of February. 

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