COVID-19

Volkswagen hosting Joe Bonamassa livestream fundraiser benefitting out-of-work musicians

A livestream fundraising concert featuring Joe Bonamassa will be sponsored by Volkswagen and Fender.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

COVID-19 pandemicGuitar legend Joe Bonamassa spends months each year on the road touring but lately he's been at home, not playing gigs. He's not the only one. Musicians across the world are seeing their incomes slashed due to shelter in place and stay at home orders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bonamassa's 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Keeping the Blues Alive has begun an emergency initiative aimed at helping musicians struggling to survive in the difficult economy. The Fueling Musicians Program provides financial assistance for essential living expenses along with pre-paid fuel cards to qualified musicians in need.

Volkswagen Fender Joe Bonamassa livestream fundraiser Bonamassa will bring his signature blues rock style to the livestream.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen and Fender have teamed up to support a livestream fundraising concert by Bonamassa benefiting the program.

"We are so excited to be working with Joe on this meaningful and entertaining live stream," said Saad Chehab, Senior Vice President, Volkswagen Brand Marketing. "When given the chance to support individuals in the music industry during this time, it felt like a true Drive Bigger moment that we wanted to be a part of."

Bonamassa began his career as a child prodigy, opening for B.B. King at the age of 12 playing a 1972 Fender Stratocaster he called "Rosie". That lead to even bigger gigs, playing on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1991, just a few years before Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling, and Justin Timberlake made it to the clubhouse.

Over the next 30 years, his fame continued to grow, playing with Greg Allman, Jethro Tull, Eric Clapton, and Warren Haynes among others. The 43-year old has won a Blues Music Award and been nominated for a Grammy all while showcasing his signature blues rock style.

Volkswagen Fender Joe Bonamassa livestream fundraiser Fender audio systems are available throughout the Volkswagen lineup as premium upgrades.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In addition to being an artist, Bonamassa is a collector, having amassed 1000 guitars and amplifiers according to a 2019 article on GuitarPlayer.com.

"My sincerest thanks and gratitude to both Volkswagen and Fender Premium Audio for their generous support of our Fueling Musicians Program," said Bonamassa. "Musicians have a tough road ahead and this will help them regroup until they can head out on the road again when everyone gets the green light."

To watch the event, visit the VW Facebook page here on Thursday, May 14 at 8 pm EST.

To donate to the Fueling Musicians Program or to complete an application for assistance, visit www.KTBA.org.

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The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 is on sale now.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
The all-electric range of the 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 has been confirmed. The model is the first modern electric Volkswagen to be sold in the U.S. and a model that the German automaker is resting a lot of hopes on for the future of sales in the country.

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro with all-wheel drive will achieve an EPA-estimated 260 miles of all-electric range on a full charge. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition, which have more features and equipment and therefore weigh more, achieve an estimated 250 miles of range.

The EPA-estimated fuel economy for ID.4 Pro RWD is 107 MPGe in the city; 91 MPGe on the highway, and 99 MPGe combined. The ID.4 Pro S and 1st Edition does slightly worse achieving 104 MPGe in the city, 89 MPGe on the highway, and 97 MPGe combined.

2021 Volkswagen ID.4: Exterior The "1st" badging denotes the vehicle as a first edition model. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

These new numbers come as part of a second round of EPA testing. Original testing found that the model did not quite hit its target.

How does that compare to other EVs? The Nissan Leaf Plus offers 226 miles of all-electric power. The Hyundai Kona Electric delivers 258 miles. Volvo's XC40 Recharge has just 208 miles of all-electric range but the Tesla Model Y can go up to 326 miles on one full charge.

First out of the Volkswagen gate will be ID.4 models with an 82-kilowatt-hour battery and rear-mounted AC permanent-magnet synchronous motor. That system delivers 201 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque.

At a public DC fast-charging station with 125 kW charging, the ID.4 can go from five to 80 percent charged in about 38 minutes. With purchase, ID.4 owners receive three years of unlimited charging at Electrify America DC Fast Chargers at no additional cost.

The 2021 ID.4 is on sale now, with pricing for the rear-wheel-drive ID.4 Pro starting at $39,995 MSRP, before a potential Federal tax credit of up to $7,500. The Pro S carries an MSRP of $44,495. The limited-run ID.4 1st Edition, which sold out the day the vehicle was launched, carried an MSRP of $43,995.

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Some Volkswagens won't wear VW badging anymore.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Editor’s Note: After sources from Volkswagen confirmed this story on backgroundto reporters on March 29, 2021, the company’s spokespeople went on the record on March 30, 2021 to explain that the name change is merely an April Fool’s joke gone awry.

The brand currently known as Volkswagen is going all-in on electric vehicles. The company's commitment to the powertrain change is so strong that they've decided to change their name from Volkswagen to Voltswagen, replacing the "k" with a "t".

The change was announced in an apparent public relations slip-up on the company's media page with a press release publishing today, March 29, instead of the intended date of April 29. The release was quickly pulled down. The change has been confirmed by the automaker and was first reported by USA Today.

According to mis-timed press release, Volkswagen's electric vehicles (EVs) will be badged 'Voltswagen' while gasoline-powered autos will wear the typical VW badge.

2017: Volkswagen ID. BUZZ Volkswagen says that a version of its ID Buzz vehicle is coming to the U.S. later this decade. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen is currently amplifying its electric vehicle sales strategy going full steam into launching models like the ID.4, a small SUV, and promising that a production version of the ID Buzz, an electric concept that has its roots in the Volkswagen Bus, will make its way to U.S. shores as an electric vehicle.

Volkswagen Group, the brand's parent company, also owns Audi, which has developed an E-tron vehicle lineup that includes the E-Tron, E-Tron Sportback, E-Tron GT, and the forthcoming production version of the Q4 Sportback E-Tron concept car. Porsche, another Volkswagen Group brand, recently launched the Taycan all-electric sports car and the Taycan Cross Turismo wagon is on its way. Even sister company Lamborghini is getting in on the electrified powertrain bandwagon.

The automaker has plans to launch more than 70 electric vehicles worldwide by 2029 and sell 1 million by 2025. Those are lofty goals, though much of the optimism surrounding the target is bolstered by continuing government clampdowns that make driving gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles more costly and scarce. These regulations most strictly affect European nations and China.

Though electric vehicles are growing in popularity, in many cases because of government incentives, Americans are only very slowing getting on-board with adoption. Take out Tesla sales and EVs represent very few sales in the U.S. at the moment. Click here to see a history of Volkswagen's modern electric vehicle development.

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