VW’s First Over-the-Air Software Update is Hardly OTA

Volkswagen announced yesterday that it will begin pushing its over-the-air software updates to its ID electric vehicles. With this, the German automaker hopes to become even more competition for EV giant Tesla

However, the activation of the “over-the-air” software updates is hardly over-the-air, as Volkswagen announced that their customers will need to go to the dealership to get a software update to activate the capability.

As mentioned about, this type of technology could be a direct threat to rival and EV giant Tesla, as the California-based startup introduced over-the-air (OTA) software updates to the auto industry.

Much like a computer or cell phone, Tesla vehicles can be easily updated through software updates pushed over-the-air. The capability has been used by the automaker to introduce new features, fix bugs, and update its user interface. A technology that allows Tesla’s vehicles to still able to receive improvements and new features years after the purchase date.

Volkswagen had already confirmed it would use OTA software updates and we are now learning that the first software update to enables this capability is ready: “Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4 models in Europe can now receive new functions and in-depth technical updates via W-LAN or mobile network.The customer’s vehicle always remains at the cutting edge of digital developments with the so-called “Over-the-Air” updates. The software version ID.2.1, which establishes the technical prerequisites for “Over-the-Air” updates, is automatically included with all new ID. models produced since calendar week 8.”

Seemingly good news for the German automaker and its customers, except for the fact that the only vehicles equipped with the software that enables over-the-air software updates are the ones currently being produced.

With ID.3 and ID.4 units making their way to customers for a few months now, owners who have already received their EV will need to go to their local dealership in order to receive the software update.

After a visit to equip their vehicles with software version ID.2.1, it should be smooth sailing from there as the vehicle will be able to receive software updates over-the-air via Wi-Fi or mobile connection.

Board member for technical development at Volkswagen, Thomas Ulbrich, said about the companies announcement: “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.”

Starting this summer, Volkswagen claims it will release new software updates every three months.

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