New Features for 2021 and 2022 Models
We’ve said before here at GreenCars that one of the best things about electric cars is their potential to get better, not worse over time. Their drivetrains are so much simpler than gasoline vehicles, and require much less maintenance over time. And because so much of the way they drive and function is now governed by software, manufacturers can release software updates that add features of performance.
Now, Volkswagen, maker of the popular ID.4 electric SUV, has just released a software update for 2021 and 2022 models. The software update improves charging performance, and also comprehensively updates the infotainment system, which has been one of the ID.4’s weak points. The software update also paves the way for future software updates.
Improved Driving and Charging Experience
Purchasers of new ID.4 models all received three years of complimentary fast-charging on the Electrify America network, which is the largest open DC fast charging network in the U.S. The software update for the ID.4 adds a new charge routing feature to the navigation system. The feature allows drivers to search for Electrify America stations only, or even filter by charging speeds at all stations. This makes planning road trips easier, ensuring drivers have the most efficient and quickest route to their destination.
The software update also improves the driver’s digital instrument cluster. Battery information is now enhanced, with the state of charge percentage added to the existing battery graphic and range readout. The current drive mode is also shown in the digital instrument cluster, letting the driver know at a glance if the car is in Eco, Comfort, Sport, Custom, or Traction mode. A new trip computer adds current driving data and ambient temperature.
Another new feature is Auto Hold. Once the driver brings the ID.4 SUV to a complete stop, they can release the brake pedal. Auto Hold secures the vehicle from rolling away until the accelerator pedal is touched. The feature can be deactivated with a shortcut menu if desired.
What most drivers will appreciate, though, is a comprehensive update to the ID.4’s infotainment system. When the electric VW was first introduced, the infotainment was criticized for being laggy and buggy, and sometimes had a difficult time connecting with users’ smartphones. It was also panned for its lack of physical controls, especially its non-backlit capacitive climate control sliders.
While the software update doesn’t address the lack of controls, Volkswagen promises significantly improved performance, and says that the upgrade includes a number of bug fixes and security improvements. It also says that further enhancements are coming, including additional remote-control features as well as Plug & Charge capability, which connects one user account to multiple charging networks, allowing for seamless billing and improved convenience.
Not Over the Air
Unfortunately, the new ID.4 software update is so comprehensive that Volkswagen says it can’t be performed over the air. Owners of model year 2021 vehicles will receive communication requesting that they book in-person appointments with their local Volkswagen dealer. The dealer will perform the software update free of charge, and also replace the vehicle’s 12-volt battery.
Owners of a limited number of model year 2022 ID.4 vehicles will also be notified about updates to their vehicles. Later 2022 vehicles already include the enhancements in the software upgrade.
“The ID.4 has been very successful for Volkswagen—both in bringing new customers into the brand and in introducing traditional ICE drivers to EVs,” said Andrew Savvas, Executive Vice President and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Volkswagen of North America. “We’re excited to upgrade the software in MY21 and certain MY22 ID.4s to enhance the user experience.”