Volkswagen ID cars will feature over-the-air updates, and you'll buy them like smartphones

Cars are a-changin', and ID is Volkswagen's vision for the future

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Volkswagen recently took T3 to the Los Angeles Auto Show to give us a look at the future of its electric mobility campaign. As well as presenting three cars at the Californian show (the ID, ID Buzz, and ID Crozz), VW also told us about how car ownership will be changing in the coming years.

By 2025 the Volkswagen brand plans to sell one million electric vehicles per year, with the first model landing in Europe in 2020.

Volkswagen's new ID vehicles will offer zero-emission long-distance travel, fast charging capability and spacious, flexible interiors.

Here's how you'll buy your next car:

Buying a car like a smartphone

Volkswagen wants to make buying a car as easy as buying a smartphone, and is starting to take a number of steps to make that happen.

First of all, its started working with Adobe to create a more personalised way of finding out about the brand online.

Next, Volkswagen is rethinking car dealerships. More like an Apple Store in a shopping mall than a traditional dealership, these new spaces will use Microsoft's Hololens to give you experience the cars in a virtual world (rather than walking around kicking tyres).

Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management Volkswagen Brand for Sales, Marketing & After Sales, says: "We are cooperating with Microsoft here: augmented reality allows us to present the new car virtually in space or in a particular place with the help of HoloLens glasses, for example in cafés and shopping malls."

So once you've seen the virtual car, now it's time to buy.

VW don't want to bombard you with options (like the current method does), instead, you should be able to spec your vehicle in as few as six simple steps.

First of all, choose the model, SUV, Hatchback, or Saloon (iPhone or iPhone Plus), then Colour (Colour), then Battery Range (Storage).

Finally, you'll be able to select packs of optional extras, such as a driver assistance pack, or sport design pack (like apps) - more on these later.

This will be possible thanks to VW's all-new MEB electrical platform that all of the ID vehicles will sit on.

Upgrade over-the-air

During the Los Angeles Auto Show, Stackmann revealed that Volkswagen's ID family will feature a new kind of connectivity.

Future vehicles will all contain a powerful central board of computers with software that can always be updated and upgraded over-the-air.

"The technological innovations we are currently working on will further increase the potential of the automobile", says Stackmann. 

"As well as a highly attractive design and numerous ways of meeting individual customer requirements, we will do everything we can to meet the growing demands that people make on sustainable mobility."

This can be seen in the ID Crozz, which VW showed off at LA.

The Crozz concept is built on VW's new MEB platform, and despite it's compact exterior, boasts more interior space than a much larger vehicle.

It features an electric motor with a claimed range of 311 miles (NEDC) and a top speed of around 112mph. VW also claims that it'll handle as well as a Golf GTI…

Crucially, though, the ID Crozz concept comes complete with four laser sensors on the roof, which are complemented with ultrasonic and radar sensors, as well as front and side cameras. 

The on-roof sensors glow blue when the system is active, as a signal to other drivers that the vehicle is operating in autonomous mode.

The first production cars could come with these sensors inactive, with VW switching them on when the laws and software is ready.

This is also true of second hand vehicles. The systems could enable buyers of used ID cars to select upgrades their first owners did not have.

"There will be a time when you buy an ID as a used car, and then it might be [that] you can choose to have automatic cruise control or satellite navigation by activating it over the air," ID Crozz product manager Jerome Kueppers told Autocar. "That’s completely new for us.”

Try out features

The interior of the ID Crozz is similar to the other ID concepts, it's minimal, airy, and clean. 

Don't let that sparse interior fool you, VW hasn't scrimped on tech. The Crozz concept comes with an augmented reality head-up display that reads the road ahead and warns you of dangers, plus a new "CleanAir" filtration system, and the aforementioned autonomous driving tech.

A problem with current car ownership is that when you're speccing a car you've never driven, it's difficult to know which features you'll want or use. VW has suggested ID cars could come 'plain', then give you demo trials of the tech available.

By being able to test them out, you'll be able to make more informed decision which you want to keep and which you don't need.

These could be purchased on a monthly contract basis, so if you've stopped using said feature, you can remove it from the car.

Obviously, these are still concepts and ideas, but it's exciting to see how car ownership could potentially change in the near feature.

It'll all be here sooner than you think

Volkswagen will unviel the production version of the Crozz in 2019, and will reach customers the following year in 2020.

Volkswagen has committed to bringing 15 electric ID vehicles to the global market by 2025, with the goal of selling one million electric vehicles per year.

Part of this plan is the hotly anticipated Volkswagen Buzz in 2022, and ID hatch in 2020 (for European markets).

VW's Pilot self-driving system probably won't be available until 2025.

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