"Cars stand for freedom and individuality", says Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for Sales, Marketing and After-Sales. "The mistakes of the past have speeded up many things at Volkswagen and a real opportunity arises from the crisis. We believe in electric mobility and in a great future for the automobile. It is the most important means of transport in the USA accounting for almost 80 per cent of passenger kilometers travelled."
The Volkswagen brand will meet the challenges of the future with the I.D. models. They are based on the all-electric architecture that will be used group-wide. The new e-vehicles offer zero-emission long-distance travel, fast charging capability and spacious, flexible interiors. "The special features of our architecture are the new proportions with long wheelbases and short overhangs", says Christian Senger, head of the e-mobility product line at Volkswagen, and he adds: "This enables us to create a completely new space concept offering great flexibility for vehicle occupants and cargo."
Senger uses the example of the I.D. compact car to demonstrate how the size of the interior has grown: "It has the exterior dimensions of a Golf, but offers as much interior space as a Passat." This is possible thanks to a space-saving axially parallel e-drive and the high-voltage battery housed in the vehicle floor. This also applies to all other body shapes: "The all-electric architecture enables all kinds of different vehicle types to be developed, from the compact class to a seven-seater SUV."
In Los Angeles Stackmann revealed that in addition to the three models already presented (compact vehicle, SUV and MPV) new members will be added to the I.D. Family in future, including a saloon. Not only do all models have electric drive as a common feature, but also a new kind of connectivity. Instead of a large number of control units, in future the vehicle electrical system will have powerful central board computers with central software that can always be updated and upgraded. This new architecture is the basis for new digital in-car services that enhance everyday driving.
"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 starts with approaching customers in the right way. In a joint project with the US software group Adobe, potential customers are targeted in social networks and will then find information on the I.D. generation customized according to their profiles on a new Volkswagen internet portal.
Even before visiting a Volkswagen dealership customers can virtually experience the new electric vehicles, also in unusual places. Stackmann 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."
Further cooperation between Volkswagen and an IT group concerns infotainment being realized together with IBM called Predictive We Services. The basis for this is the digital assistant "Watson", who researches possible intermediate destinations for shopping or dinner online and is also able to book them with voice command during the journey.
"For more than 70 years Volkswagen's strength has been in making technologies and above all mobility accessible to people, regardless of the drive system. And that's the way it will be in the future. We make high quality electric mobility accessible to everyone", is how Jürgen Stackmann summarizes Volkswagen's targets.