VW connected-cars software upgrade for electric vehicles increases range and adds new features

29 March 2022

Volkswagen (VW) is to implement a major connected-cars software update for its ID. electric-vehicle (EV) line-up, which includes greater charging capacity that can boost EV range. It also comes with the latest driver-assistance systems, improved voice-control performance, and a park-assist function that can memorise parking manoeuvres.

The 3.0 software connected vehicles update has been long awaited, offering some new as well as optional upgrades to functions such as automated driving, charging performance, and the augmented-reality (AR) head-up display. Regarding smart EV software, VW has lagged behind some of its main competitors, such as Tesla, but the new update is intended to close that gap.

‘The new ID. software 3.0 is an upgrade for our whole ID. family,’ said Thomas Ulbrich, VW brand board member, responsible for technical development. ‘We are taking our products to a new level of functionality because we are working faster, are more connected and are more customer-oriented.’

Source: VW

Smart EV software

The connected-cars software update promises a mix of benefits, with models that come with the 77kWh battery now able to charge at up to 135kW instead of 125kW. VW said that improvements to the battery’s thermal management makes driving more efficient and can bolster range. Consumers, eager to preserve the EV battery, can also activate a new ‘battery care mode’, which limits the state-of-charge (SoC) level to 80%.

New features centre on intelligent driver-assistance systems and include the optional ‘travel assist with swarm data’, which automatically keeps cars in the centre of the lane and adapts to driving style. This allows drivers to maintain a distance from vehicles in front, coming with predictive cruise control and turning assistance. Two radars at the rear and ultrasound keep an eye on traffic and can assist in changing lanes. Provided the sensors do not pick up any objects, the car then steer itself into the adjacent lane, allowing the driver to intervene at any time.

Other automated features include ‘Park Assist Plus,’ which sees the car search for a parking space and complete the manoeuvre with the help of sensors. It can also be used to slide out of parallel parking spaces. An additional memory function has the car pick up specific parking patterns, which it then repeats on its own.

Software-driven mobility

VW is in the middle of accelerating its transformation into a software-driven mobility provider, with the latest update highlighting these efforts – the list of new features is long, not least when it comes to the AR display. The upgrade adds additional displays in the long-distance zone, as well as new symbols such as roundabouts and information on the distance to the destination. It also shows the charge level and the remaining distance to the destination.

Source: VW

The carmaker has optimised navigation and added a smart route planner, while drivers also receive local hazard warnings. Voice control has been improved to recognise commands faster, with the car turning into ‘an intelligent conversation partner,’ VW said. Voice control is available in all ID. models in Germany, with the system responding online from the cloud, and offline from information stored in the car. VW promises ‘high recognition rate and quality of results.’

Overall, the connected-cars software upgrade allows VW to create a new, digital customer experience with added functions offering more comfort to drivers. The electric line-up of ID. models continues to grow, making smart software a pivotal cornerstone for VW. About a year ago, the company first launched over-the-air updates, becoming the first high-volume vehicle manufacturer to regularly upgrade car software via mobile data transfer.