Volkswagen has announced its first significant over-the-air (OTA) update for its ID family of electric vehicles on its path to becoming a software-oriented mobility provider. According to the company, the ID.2.3 software update will bring extensive improvements across a broad range of existing functionalities found in the ID range. OTA updates are an increasingly common way to keep technology fresh and introduce new features, much in the same way as downloading the latest operating system for a smartphone.
Volkswagen is following other automakers, such as Volvo and Polestar, in providing car owners with vehicle upgrade and connectivity solutions through OTA data transfer. The two Swedish brands delivered their first OTA updates back in February of this year. Polestar sent new code to the Polestar 2 sedan, and Volvo updated capabilities in the XC40 Recharge.
The first Volkswagen model to benefit from the updated ID.2.3 software will be the Volkswagen ID.3, which is currently only sold in Europe. The roll-out will begin later this month. The ID.4, offered in the United States, will be the next to receive OTA updates. The ID.4 is a compact SUV with 201 horsepower, a single-motor rear-drive layout, and an all-electric range of 250 miles. Future vehicles in the ID range will follow, VW says.
Volkswagen's first over-the-air software update for the ID range will optimize and enhance several aspects of vehicle operation, including lighting functionality, surroundings recognition, and infotainment design and capability. The updates will also improve performance and stability, intended to deliver a more satisfying and surefooted driving experience, the company says. All of these upgrades are possible thanks to Volkswagen's MEB platform and its more powerful and consolidated electronics. This modular electric architecture enables OTA updates on as many as 35 systems throughout the vehicle.
"Volkswagen is moving up a gear when it comes to digitalization," said Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand. "After the successful roll-out of our all-electric ID family, the brand is once again leading the movement: we are creating a totally new, digital customer experience with new functions and greater comfort – every twelve weeks. This makes us the first high-volume manufacturer to regularly deliver extensive Over-the-Air Updates."
Once updates for all ID owners become fully implemented at regular intervals, Volkswagen plans to renew them quarterly throughout the year. The prerequisite for this current update is the previous software version ID.2.1, which is present on all ID models produced since the end of February 2021. ID vehicles built earlier than that are eligible for the ID.2.1 software, but not via OTA update. Those customers will be required to make one dealer visit for software installation before receiving ID.2.3 via OTA update.
In addition to standardized adjustments to the vehicle's systems, Volkswagen makes improvements based on customer feedback. "We established the agile project unit ID Digital specifically to enable us to continuously update software in the car," said Thomas Ulbrich, member of the Board of Management for Development for Volkswagen. "As such, we are able to quickly gather customer feedback and react flexibly to customer requirements. This means the ID models constantly remain up to date after delivery, and customer cars retain their value better."