Interesting point about EVs, which have even less need for rear braking.
I also think car companies still use them when they can because they cost less than disc brakes. My wife's current fav is the Genesis GV60 EV, which is pretty premium and has four wheel disc brakes.
Volkswagen's ID.4 has rear drum brakes. VW says it's because the drums help decrease rolling resistance, along with the strength of the regen braking.
$40,000 is a lot of money for drums, but there's a good reason behind it.
But Volkswagen isn't the sort of engineering company that assembles its cars with parts from Home Depot, so there's a good reason why it's doing this. Our guess here at The Drive was
that the rear wheels get enough braking from the regen system, so they don't need discs. Since the motors are mounted at the back—the ID.4 is indeed rear-wheel-drive—they provide direct braking power to the rear axle. We thought Volkswagen likely figured that to save some upfront cost and make maintenance intervals a bit longer, it would opt for drums instead of discs. After all, cost is still a huge barrier to EV ownership.
However, a VW spokesman tells us that they used rear drums on the ID.4 primarily to decrease rolling resistance, as disc brake pads have the tendency to drag on the rotors a small amount as the car coasts. Drum brakes, just by nature of their design, do not. The brand also says that drum brakes offer superior performance and reactivity after long periods of disuse—those long inactive periods being due to the EV's regenerative braking system handling most of the stopping.
So while many may have assumed that Volkswagen was just looking for one more area to chip away at the price, they were actually searching for avenues to get every last drop of range out of the ID.4's battery pack. And we're cool with that.