Volkswagen is gearing up to give its ID. range of electric vehicles more driver assist systems, an electric vehicle (EV) route planner, and – in some cases – faster charging speeds with an over-the-air software update.
The update will be standard on all new ID. vehicle orders, and existing owners will be able to update to what Volkswagen is calling Software 3.0 free of charge in the second quarter of 2022.
Headlining this software update, ID. models with a 77kWh battery pack fitted can now charge at a maximum of 135kW. The maximum charging speed was previously 125kW.
There have also been improvements to the battery thermal management, allowing for more efficient driving and increased range, especially in cold weather.
A new Battery Care mode allows owners to conserve the longevity of their battery and limits the state-of-charge to 80 per cent.
On the driver assist front, Volkswagen has introduced a new Travel Assist system that keeps the vehicle in the middle of its lane, and can assist with lane changes.
Available at speeds of 90km/h or more on highways, ID. vehicles use two rear-mounted radars and ultrasound to make sure it’s safe to semi-autonomously change lanes.
The driver’s hands are required on the steering at all times, and the semi-autonomous lane change can be activated through the use of the indicator.
If there’s data from other connected Volkswagen vehicles available, the Travel Assist system will be able to work on roads with just one lane marking. An example Volkswagen provided for this is when there’s no central lane marking on a rural road.
The upgraded Park Assist Plus system can now search for a parking space at speeds of up to 40km/h for parallel parking spaces, and 20km/h for perpendicular parking spaces.
When an assisted parking manoeuvre is started, the system can also take full control of the car, including steering, acceleration, braking and the transmission.
If you get stuck mid-way through a parking manoeuvre, the Park Assist Plus system is able to complete the process, and it’s also able to pull out of parallel parking spaces if desired.
An optional memory function is able to be taught up to five different parking manoeuvres at speeds below 40km/h with a travel distance of up to 50 metres. In order to save a parking manoeuvre, a driver needs to only park once and save it.
Volkswagen has also improved its optional augmented reality head-up display, which now displays the Travel Assist assisted lane changing, as well as new symbols for roundabouts and information on the distance to the destination.
The ID. Cockpit digital instrument cluster now shows a remaining distance to the destination, and the charge you’re expected to arrive with as a percentage next to a battery icon that also shows the current charge state.
An intelligent EV route planner is now embedded in the charging menu, and is able to create a route based on traffic, route data and charging stops.
Volkswagen has improved the optional navigation system to now recommend changing lanes ahead of freeway junctions or exits along a route.
ID. vehicles can also talk with other vehicles using WLANp radio to notify other vehicles of warnings for “critical traffic situations” such as broken-down vehicles and ambulances.
The German automaker has fiddled with the voice control in ID. vehicles, claiming it can now comprehend 95 per cent of voice commands. This feature can be triggered by the phrase ‘Hello ID.’.
The voice command system is able to operate the entertainment, navigation, telephone and climate control functionalities. It can now also understand conversational phrases such as “I’m hot” and respond as necessary.
The system can even tell if the driver of the passenger is speaking due to the microphone location and as an example, the voice command system can adjust the passenger climate control if they were the one who requested so.
Volkswagen says the optimised system is capable of asking questions and allowing interruptions.
“The new ID. Software 3.0 is an upgrade for our whole ID. family: we are taking our products to a new level of functionality because we are working faster, are more connected and are more customer-oriented,” said Volkswagen member of the board of management Thomas Ulbrich.
Although this new software is only just being released, Volkswagen is already working on a new ID. 3.1 software update that’ll debut in the ID.5 and ID. Buzz.
At this stage it’s uncertain when the Volkswagen ID. range will begin to arrive Down Under.
The first Australia-bound ID. models are slated to be the ID.3 and ID.4, and it was previously reported the local launch of the ID.3 and ID.4 was pushed back to late 2023.
This is primarily due to Australia’s lack of CO2 targets and Northern Hemisphere demand.