Alice Dibben has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. A former cryptanalyst at the National Security Agency, she mastered early modern computing systems to help collect and decipher complex codes. At age 80, she installed 120 solar panels on the roof of her barn in Pasadena, Md., to help reduce her carbon footprint.
And now, the 91-year-old grandmother and horse breeder has kept her innovation streak going by embracing electric driving with the Volkswagen ID.4 EV.
“When you’re working with yearlings, you’re always thinking of the future,” Alice says.
Alice, along with Joshua Neiderhiser of York, Pa., were two of the first U.S. customers to take home Volkswagen’s first long-range electric SUV. As of today, Volkswagen has delivered the ID.4 to its network of more than 600 dealers nationwide.
Alice enrolled in the ID.4 early registration program in 2020 after her daughter, Helen Dibben, spotted an ad for the electric car in Antwerpen Volkswagen’s newsletter. Putting in a reservation for the vehicle was an easy call for Alice, who has been a Volkswagen loyalist her entire life. The Dibben family’s fleet has included a split-screen Beetle, several Jettas and Volkswagen Rabbit models, but the ID.4 will be the family’s first EV.
“Since the early 1960s, there has been a Volkswagen in our family,” Helen says. Today, “we feel an obligation to try and use as much renewable energy as possible and do our part to transition away from using so much gasoline.”
And, after a short test drive of the car at the dealership, Alice was sold. “This car makes me feel young again,” she says.
Helen, who assists her mother with daily driving, echoed her sentiments. “It is really easy to drive, has great handling and is extremely roomy inside,” she says. “Most importantly, it is very easy for mom to get in and out. The multi-adjustable seats allow her to travel in comfort.”
Not far away in York, Pa., Joshua Neiderhiser was test driving his own brand-new ID.4. The 43-year-old lawyer and stepdad had researched electric cars for months, hoping to find the perfect EV for his tall frame and 5.8-mile work commute.
“The progressive, tree-hugging hippie in me wanted to get into an electric vehicle as soon as possible,” Joshua says.
He had test-driven other electric cars but was always left wanting.
“There was just no zing on the inside of their cabins,” Joshua said. “But not the ID.4.”
In early March, he got a video text from York Volkswagen that his car had arrived on the lot and was ready for pick-up. Similar to Alice, it only took one spin of the vehicle to help convince him it was the right fit – literally.
“I am 6’3” and 250 pounds, so I needed something that had space and was comfortable, and this absolutely was it,” Joshua says. “In every other car I’ve driven I’ve had to push the seat back to fit my long legs. In this one, I put it back and I was actually too far from the driving wheel, which was a welcome surprise.”
Other features of the ID.4 that jumped out to him right away were the fine lines of the vehicle, its acceleration and efficiency.
“It felt like I was driving a sportscar,” Joshua says.
His 11-year-old stepson is particularly fond of the car’s colorful ID. Light feature and Batmobile appearance. “He’s all about the bells and the whistles,” jokes Joshua’s wife, Kristi Neiderhiser.
His family plans to take the new car on the road this summer to take in America’s favorite pastime if games resume with crowds as expected.
“We had it planned for last year, but the pandemic canceled our plans, so this year we are hoping to catch all 13 baseball teams in the state in one summer,” Joshua says.
The York season-ticket holder is already eagerly mapping out his epic road trip, plotting stops at available charging stations in Pittsburgh, Erie and Philadelphia.
“Driving this car,” Joshua says, “is an absolute dream.”