There is electric car news from Volkswagen Group and it’s all good. Over on the Porsche side of things, there are rumors about more variants to the Taycan that may be in the works, and on the Volkswagen side, the company says over the air update capability is now baked into all cars manufactured after Week 8 of 2021. Cars built before then will catch up soon. Let’s begin with Porsche.
More Porsche Taycan Variants Planned
Porsche has just unveiled the production version of the Cross Turismo, an off-road capable, somewhat taller version of the Taycan. The 5-door hatchback offers all the goodness of the Taycan, but in a larger package with more carrying capacity.
But Porsche may not be done leveraging the time and effort that went into developing the Taycan. According to AutoCar, brand boss Stefan Weckbach says the Cross Turismo could be followed by a lower, more refined estate or wagon that eliminates the 20 mm suspension increase, protective body moldings, and Gravel Mode of the Cross Turismo. Spiritually, it would be the all electric equivalent to the Panamera Sport Turismo.
Weckbach also claims there is talk of a two door version of the Taycan, which in turn could lead to a convertible version as well. But first, there needs to be a determination that there is a business case for those cars. Down the hall, Volkswagen has just let slip that it could produce a two-door ragtop version of the ID.3. That car may or may not ever see the light of day, depending on the response to the concept. “I can’t tell you today if we are really going for something like that, the platform is perfect for future additional product ideas, and we are thinking in different directions, Weckbach says.
Volkwagen ID.3/4 Now Feature OTA Capability
Volkswagen has suffered mightily when it comes to making its new ID.3 and ID.4 electric cars capable of over the air updates, a requirement for all modern cars, thanks to the pioneering work done by Tesla in that regard. This week, Volkswagen brand boss Ralph Brandstätter announced, “Volkswagen is driving forward the digitalization of its products at pace and is transforming itself into a full service provider of hardware, software and services. The introduction of over the air updates is the next important step in our transformation into a tech company and in the development of new business models.”
The company says in a press release that all ID.3 and ID.4 vehicles produced after Week 8 of this year will have the OTA function baked in as they roll off the assembly line. Starting this summer, Volkswagen will provide owners of ID. vehicles with a software update every three months to optimize software performance and provide new functions and customization options.
“This will ensure that all delivered ID. Models will be kept at the same software level as new cars throughout their entire life cycle. Over the air updates will also be the new normal in cars in the future. With them, we will keep all delivered ID. models on the same software level as new cars for years to come,” says Thomas Ulbrich, the Volkswagen board member responsible for technical development.
Owners of cars delivered before the OTA feature was available will need to bring their vehicles to a Volkswagen dealer to have the feature added. After the update, they will be able to receive OTA updates just like the cars that have that feature built in at the factory.
The first over the air updates are currently being tested on more than 3,000 company cars so that the first customers will soon be able to benefit from the continuous performance improvements and new functions, the company says. “Software is increasingly becoming a competitive differentiating factor and therefore a decisive purchase reason in the automotive market of the 21st century,” it adds.
One thing is for sure. Every car that pretends to world class status from now on will need to offer its owners over the air updates. It’s another gigantic disruption of the automotive world initiated by Tesla. If Volkswagen has gotten its sums right and now has a functioning OTA platform, it can truly claim to be building compelling electric cars. Yes, it was a struggle, but hopefully that is all behind it now as it continues its push to be one of the leaders of the electric car revolution.
Featured image credit: Porsche