The German automaker’s ID family of electric cars are plagued with buggy software, causing customer headaches plus leading in order to major setbacks for the company’s next-gen Trinity project. How can VW patch the problem?
During the year that he owned a 2021 Volkswagen ID. 4 , Branden Flasch came to believe that the electric crossover SUV did many things very well. But when it came to the car’s software-based functions — the infotainment system, the particular various controls, smartphone integration, and so on — “it was death by a thousand cuts, ” Flasch said.
Flasch said he experienced problems along with scheduling charging at home and had trouble getting the car to get along with Apple CarPlay . He had an “obnoxious” experience with the ID. 4’s much-lamented capacitive settings , which eschew actual buttons for touch panels that offer haptic feedback.
His experience has not been isolated. Owners of VW’s electric IDENTIFICATION cars all over the particular world have reported problems with infotainment screens, range calculations, buggy smartphone connections, getting, and other features that are far more seamless on other companies’ cars. And VW’s long-promised addition of over-the-air updates, increasingly common on some other cars, is just now starting as associated with this month, but still not in North America.
Flasch is an old hand at EVs, having owned several, including the Tesla Model S this individual drove with regard to 100, 000 miles. (“I essentially lived out of that car regarding nine months during the worst of COVID, ” he or she said. ) He makes YouTube videos about his experiences along with EVs; in his day job, he develops ELECTRONIC VEHICLES charging stations and infrastructure for a major convenience store chain.
But when this individual got a chance to part with his ID. 4 intended for only $1, 200 less than he or she paid to get it, he did thus, trading up for the Polestar 2 and then a Rivian R1T.
Flasch said he sold the Vw more pertaining to financial reasons than anything else, but the software headaches are not missed.
“As a vehicle, not really talking about like infotainment and software program, it’s fantastic, ” Flasch said. “There are very few vehicles that will are that good, realistically. ” But, this individual added, “I would say Volkswagen is a bit behind the curve [on software] compared even to the particular other legacy automakers. ”
Software problems have emerged as a major roadblock in order to the entire Volkswagen Group’s electric vehicle plans. So much so that VOLKS WAGEN Group CEO Oliver Blume is due to outline a revised software strategy at the carmaking giant’s supervisory board meeting upon Thursday, December 15th. The particular meeting has been described by outlets like Automotive News as the “reality check, ” where Blume will be expected to present a more grounded plan to realize VW’s ambitious plus expensive electric powered dreams.
“The Volkswagen Group is undergoing the biggest transformation in its history, ” a VW Group spokesperson said in an email. “Our NEW AUTO Group technique sets out a clear roadmap up to 2030 for us to become a sustainable software-oriented mobility provider. We have to transform ourselves and acquire completely new competencies if we want to play a leading role in tomorrow’s mobility market. Software will certainly become the new differentiator. ”
The Vw Group’s software problems are usually well-documented and reflective of wider problems facing many legacy automakers. As they aim to compete with new players like Tesla plus Rivian and transform their vehicles into essentially battery-powered computers on wheels, they find themselves forced in order to become software program companies as well because manufacturing companies.
This transition has not been an easy one.
“It’s pretty clear that software and the way the consumer interacts with the particular vehicle are some of the most critical areas of focus meant for automakers, particularly for EVs, ” stated Paul Waatti, the industry analysis manager for AutoPacific, an automotive marketing research and consulting firm. “It’s no longer just mechanical plus dynamic advantages that stand out like with internal combustion. It’s software program and the overall user experience that will ultimately set vehicles apart. ”
For the particular VW Group, the stakes could not be higher. It’s not just a conglomerate that includes Audi, Porsche, Ducati, and Bentley that’s either the largest or second-biggest car company in the world, depending on how Toyota is performing that quarter. It’s the car company undertaking one associated with the most aggressive pivots to electrical vehicles, driven in part to seek penance for getting caught cheating on diesel emissions in 2015 . That even included founding Electrify America, its public EV charging subsidiary.
In the years since, the VW Group offers committed in order to phasing out there its internal combustion engines in Europe by 2035 , building six battery “gigafactories” inside Europe meant to supply millions of EVs, plus electrifying almost all of the brands, even Lamborghini .
Plus, automakers like VW have high aspirations for brand new revenue sources beyond simply selling cars, and those, too, depend on software. These include features like connected cars, leveraging data, subscription features , integrating e-commerce and augmented reality in to vehicles, virtual assistants, and other functions that could redefine how we think of cars entirely.
To achieve any associated with that, Volkswagen must get the software program right. And so far, it has not.