According to a report by Germany’s Manager Magazin, Volkswagen is experiencing “massive difficulties” with the software for its ID.3 electric sedans. Apparently, the first 10,000 cars built do not have over-the-air update capability — a critical component of any modern electric vehicle and something pioneered by Tesla as far back as 2012. No automaker has genuinely followed Tesla’s lead on this so far, but there’s a lot of chatter they will with coming EVs, like the ID lineup.
To make matters worse, the next batch of 10,000 cars will also lack over-the-air update capability. All of the cars are being stored in parking lots rented by the company until such time as Volkswagen computer experts can get to them and update their software architecture, probably sometime around May of next year. The first cars are not scheduled to be delivered to customers until the summer of 2020.
Volkswagen has placed special emphasis on the software capabilities of its electric cars. It says it wants to develop its own operating system and sell the technology to other manufacturers. But OTA capability is a critical component of any such operating system and so far Volkswagen is behind the 8 ball with its current software package.
Volkswagen is working with external partners on software development. According to a report by Ecomento, Bosch has dropped out of the race and Continental is in the lead to be Volkswagen’s primary software partner. VW hired Christian Senger away from Continental to head up its new software division and he is under intense pressure to deliver the systems that CEO Herbert Diess expects.
Diess has said that software will be a matter of special interest for Volkswagen, according to Inside EVs. “In the long run, I think we might have a bit of an advantage because of scale. On the hardware side, there is probably not so big a difference because they [Tesla] also have a dedicated electric platform and they’re quite big already for an EV manufacturer. But when it comes to the next big thing, which is software — Tesla is strong in software — but software really is a volume game. If you do software, you have to use ten million devices, not one million.”
The irony in all this is that if Tesla was having similar difficulties, the gloomsters and naysayers would be jumping up and down and predicting (yet again) that the company was on the brink of disaster and its stock not worth warm spit.
Bulli For Volkswagen
According to AutoBild, one of Germany’s most respected sources of news about its auto industry, Volkswagen is busy working on more models that will be built on the MEB electric vehicle platform. The report is short.
“The serial version of the study ID. Buzz will be launched as ID.7 in 2022. There will be three battery sizes. With the largest version, the ID.7 should go up to 600 kilometers. The base price of the electric Bulli will be around 45,000 euros.” Pre-production cars should begin coming off the assembly line about a year from now, AutoBild says.
No other information is available at this time. The video below will give you an opportunity to practice your high school German, but the images are what’s important.
Hat tip to Andrea Pizzini who brought the AutoBild story to our attention.
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