Volkswagen Tries To Help Electric Car Buyers With Cool New Tools & Videos

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It’s a difficult thing to jump from one technology to another, even when the new technology is much better and more useful (like going from an old mobile phone to a smartphone). Going from a gas car to an electric car is actually not that dramatic of a change, but it still causes concerns for a lot of people. How far can I drive? How long does it take to charge? Where do you charge? Anyone with an EV knows the standard questions, because they are almost always the same all over the world.

Volkswagen has just rolled out some tools in the UK to try to help with the core questions non-EV owners often have about life with an electric car. Will this help normal people to learn about and buy electric cars? Well, if normal people find these tools, I think they can.

The tools provide “instant data on range, charging times and running costs, model by model, and according to each person’s own driving profile,” Volkswagen summarizes. “Visitors simply select their model, trim and battery size, then use on-screen sliders to adjust factors such as weather, driving style and charging locations to see instantly how owning an electric vehicle compares with petrol and diesel alternatives.”

All of these tool are located here, or you can jump straight to the range simulator, the charging time simulator, the running costs estimator, and the car comparator tool. Here are screenshots of each of them:

VW range simulator screenshot
VW charging time simulator screenshot
VW charging cost simulator screenshot
VW car comparator tool screenshot

The comparisons (and fun) are endless! I think the only thing that saved me from spending hours on there is that it’s for the UK and I live in the US — and the fact that I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Along with these sophisticated tools for electric vehicles, Volkswagen released some short, bite-sized videos for explaining some of the basics of electric cars. See all 19 videos in this playlist:

“We hope our new website tools — and the videos on YouTube — take the guesswork out of people’s buying decisions and answer common questions among existing customers,” said Sarah Cox, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen UK. “Prospective EV customers in particular have lots of factors to consider when selecting their first electric car, which is why we developed e-mobility tools to help them understand the day-to-day costs and practicalities of owning an electric Volkswagen.”

Indeed. Non-EV owners always want to know two things about an electric car — how far it can drive (check) and how long it takes to charge (check). If they get past those two questions, they also tend to be curious how much it costs to charge (check), and since this is an area that highlights one of the core benefits of electric vehicles, total cost of ownership, it’s something anyone (like VW) trying to sell an electric car should be keen to highlight and explain (check). The problem with answering these questions is that there are a lot of factors that go into the calculation to come up with a correct answer. Volkswagen solves that problem by putting those many key variables and the calculus needed to crunch the numbers behind the screen, and then presents simple, clear, easy-to-use tools on your computer or phone screen for you to come up with answers relevant to your life and needs. Good work, Volkswagen.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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