The Volkswagen ID is not just a sub-brand like Mercedes-Benz’s EQ or Citroen’s DS. It is a set of systems that enable carefree electric driving, forming an eco-system.
Of course there are the cars. Starting with the successor to the Golf, the successors to the Passat and Tiguan, and many more. That is what most articles of recent weeks have been about. Some articles mention parts of the services VW offers to support electric driving. This article is focusing on those services.
The first and most visible is the charging infrastructure. Unlike Tesla, it is not a closed system. It is a public charging system build in partnership with the other German carmakers in Europe and the dieselgate punishment known as Electrify America. Besides these networks, VW is stimulating the placing of chargers at partners, like chain store and its dealerships. This is how Nissan originally made CHAdeMO the most widely available charging standard in Europe, America, and the rest of the world.
For consumers, finding chargers and paying for the charge is facilitated through the WeCharge app. It works not only with the VW chargers mentioned in the previous paragraph, but with all the charging providers that cooperate. No hassling with dozens of membership cards for the charging providers. Universal credit card and debit card acceptance is even better, but who is nitpicking?
The WeCharge app is part of the WE suite from Volkswagen, which includes mobility and car apps. Another member of this family is WePark, a way to pay for your parking. Again, of course, only with cooperating parking providers, but those are eager to participate in these initiatives.
The integrated route planning uses charging and parking information to get you to your destination in the best way VW can imagine.
The WeDeliver app remotely opens and closes the trunk of your car, making receiving of your online purchases easier. But my car won’t be home when I am not home, making the value of this function dubious for me.
For those who like to travel, the ride-sharing and car-rental VW company WeShare used with the app of the same name makes driving easy away from home, or makes life without a car at home easy.
To feel right at home in every car you get from WeShare, your VW ID driver profile is saved to the VW Cloud. It can be downloaded to the car you use. Seat, mirrors, destinations, cruise control preferences, playlists, contacts, climate control, and more — it can all become part of the environment of every ID automobile you drive.
I feel like I am writing a VW commercial. Regretfully, VW is not paying me for this. I have been following the development of VW ID since an enthusiastic young VW marketing guy talked to me for about half an hour at the IAA in Frankfurt in 2017. I did not write about it then because, well — VW, the road to hell, good intentions, and my doubts.
It looks like VW came through, though, and that is really great. The electric vehicle market can use more carmakers that introduce more than a single car without much supporting services or infrastructure. (Are you listening, Mary Barra?) I expect that these kinds of ecosystems will become standard for most car brands. For now, it is VW and Tesla who offer the best option for electric driving (with BMW developing an ecosystem but without producing the cars to use it — really weird).