In an extensive AMA on Reddit today, VW CEO Herbert Diess provided answers to several questions from the Reddit community, some of which were news to us. Most importantly, he made clear VW’s stance on autonomy and ID.4 for the charging update schedule while being eloquent on everyone’s favorite low-priced VW EV, the Microbus.
At Lidar, Diess surprisingly took a different path than his friend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who insists that Robotaxis can be made from vision systems only. Tesla CEO said he’d be shocked if Tesla didn’t achieve full autonomous driving that’s safer than human drivers this year (five years before anyone else).
Dess noted that Lidar, or more specifically the redundant perception, was integral to reaching the third level of autonomy, saying:
Lidar technology is still expensive, but nowadays it is the only way to provide repeat visualization for 360 camera systems and it is a must. Safety is really critical in self-driving. To drive level 3, you need extra awareness.
He later clarified that Level 3 autonomy “requires” redundant visualization to administer. Volkswagen has partnered with MobileEye for its Lidar systems, whose prices have fallen.
Yes, level 3 definitely requires lidar over-perception.
For time, Dis was less specific than Tesla “this year” Time period.
Self-driving is the biggest game changer in the auto industry. We will be able to drive our clients safely and comfortably. This will be a gradual process from taking charge on open highways in good weather to more complex environments and weather conditions around the world. So this will be a long process of competition for a long time to come. We are building the competencies to become a serious competitor in this race.
In the field of software in general, Volkswagen has made huge investments.
We build capabilities to become self-sufficient in automotive programs, through organic growth, major acquisitions and partnerships to build proprietary intellectual property and hire technical talent. Last year we hired about 1,000 software engineers. To obtain an IP, we have started a partnership with Bosch. To enhance our image recognition capabilities, we acquired the Hella Aglaia team. More is coming. We currently invest $2 billion in software annually, and CARIAD is already delivering software updates over the air, preparing new launches and features with our brands.
On simplifying many brands and vehicle platforms to become like Tesla, Diess replied:
Volkswagen will continue to be a multi-brand mobility company operating around the world and present in many sectors. To reduce complexity, we focus on platforms, more in the future. A single SSP hardware platform, unified battery cells and joint software suite with CARIAD will ensure that we take full advantage of our economies of scale. Presence in terms of size, distinct markets and dealing with many different customer preferences. But yes, in some sectors we are still very complex in our product offerings. We’re making good progress in reducing complexity. Already with our MEB platform, 70 percent of the car’s value is shared between Audi, Skoda, Cupra and Volkswagen.
The €20,000 Volkswagen electric car ID.1 or ID.2?
What the world needs right now is a low-cost electric car, and Dies has confirmed that Volkswagen is working on something like life concept identifier We saw at IAA last year.
[Redditor]: When will we see an EV with 300 miles of range for under $25,000?
[Diess]: The price is a challenge. We are working on electric cars with around 20 thousand euros for entry segments.
Delivery, charging and two-way charging update for Volkswagen ID.4
While the VW ID.4 has been awarded high marks for its hardware, owners are running out of patience with the promised software updates. One promised update in particular, Plug and Charge with Bidirectional charging, has been a sore spot with vague promises to owners since last year. We now learn that Volkswagen is targeting summer for this update.
We’ll have a major OTA update for ID.4 coming this summer, which will add features like Plug & Charge and Auto Hold, as well as higher charging capacity on board.
And perhaps most interestingly, the update will be released in the form of a vehicle to the home (V2H), allowing customers to do things like power their devices from the car — or run their entire home in the event of a power outage. It will be interesting to see the output and how it compares to the Hyundai E-GMP platform’s output of 2-4kW.
Two-way shipping will be available this year for all ID cards. Models with a 77 kWh battery, also via OTA update. At first we will provide home delivery only. This means that you can run your dishwasher on electricity from the outside 😉
Diess later clarified that this will be on all ID.4 77kWh vehicles sold:
Yes, we will offer Plug & Charge on MY23 ID.4s and on older cars with OTA update. I just tested it with Elke (https://www.linkedin.com/in/elke-temme/) – Really fitting, it’s time to apply.
Volkswagen pickup? Deiss thinks that’s a good idea.
Deiss played an innocent part when the idea of a Volkswagen Pickup was brought up to the USA.
[Redditer] Hi Herbert, We love Volkswagen Designs a lot. My question is, will there be an electric pickup truck like the Ford f150 lightning for the USA?
[Diess] good idea!
Volkswagen already makes ICE pickups and sells them outside the US, so the company isn’t entirely a beginner when it comes to form factor. But a newcomer to the electric truck market in the US will be good for everyone involved, especially if it’s made in Chattanooga.
dis in the future
The CEO of Volkswagen was asked what the future holds for Volkswagen and the auto industry, specifically 25 years from now.
25 years is very difficult to guess. Advances in technology come quickly. My guess: all cars will be able to drive independently, very safe, and there will probably be no accidents at all anymore. Emission-free, super convenient – cars will take you where you want to go and when you want to go. There will still be brands that are precious to different customer preferences, and cars will remain the most important means of transportation. But it is completely safe, comfortable and sustainable.
It’s hard not to like an Automotive CEO does AMA Answer customer and fan questions honestly – including spelling and grammatical errors. (Interrupted by some slack!)
As for self-driving, Diess has a steep learning curve but seems to have realistic expectations of what VW can achieve. The CEO continues to impress us with his clear vision for the future of electric/self-driving cars. However, in the short term, he needs to get these ID.4 updates.
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