German carmaker Volkswagen is considering an hourly fee for access to autonomous driving features, once those features are ready.
Company board member Thomas Ulbrich told German newspaper Die Welt that the company is also exploring a range of subscription features for its electric cars, including increases related to range or performance, which can be purchased hourly or every day. Read also After removing Volkswagen from the throne of cars, Toyota promises to launch the first fully self-driving model in the near future Why did you choose the Korean company? .. Apple is negotiating with Hyundai and Kia to manufacture its new car سيارته 7 seconds before they happen, BMW develops artificial intelligence that predicts accidents Smart tires of the future..puncture-resistant and air-free
Ulbrich said the first subscription features will appear in the second quarter of 2022 in Volkswagen’s self-driving vehicles, which support the company’s new ID.3 and ID.4 compact car. Cross.
The CEO said that Volkswagen would also offer video games in cars, similar to the Tesla arcade, and added, “In the charging breaks, even if they only last 15 minutes, we want to offer customers something.”
He said the automaker would not develop the games itself, and it was not clear if they would come pre-installed or be available for purchase through the App Store.
Volkswagen is considering turning self-driving into a paid service as a new business model for the company to make money. “In a self-driving service, we can imagine using it by the hour. Let’s assume a price around 7 euros ($8.5) an hour,” says Ulbrich.
By charging an hourly fee, Volkswagen would make self-driving easier and more affordable than buying an expensive car, said Klaus Zelmer, Volkswagen’s chief sales officer, hinting at bigger rival Tesla.
Zelmer said he expects the subscriptions to eventually generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional profits for the company.
Over the past two years, Volkswagen has devoted a great deal of attention to the software that goes into its cars. In 2019, the company released updates to simplify its software, consolidated all its software divisions into one internal group, and changed its name to Cariad last November.
“Cared is very important to the future of the group,” Ulbrich said. “As a brand, it is an important development of future electric vehicles, and this allows us to focus on vehicle-specific software and applications for customers.”
Are you ready to pay the subscription?
Carmakers have been scoffing at the idea of subscription revenue for years, but as more features in vehicles are managed through software, the thought of automakers controlling them on and off with these schemes calls for a rethink of the subscription-money venture. After watching software companies do this work, it’s no surprise that auto companies are taking serious steps to include subscriptions in their offerings.
Volkswagen isn’t the first car company to consider subscriptions or aftermarket purchases. Tesla once offered Model S cars with a 75-kWh battery, which were software-restricted to outputting only 60 or 70 kWh, depending on when buy the car.
And in the case of 70-kWh models, customers can pay $3,250 to unlock the last 9.33% of battery performance.
BMW privately charged an $80 annual subscription to use CarPlay on its 2019 models. It was a good deal for renters who saved $60 on a 3-year lease, compared to buying the car with feature.
It remains to be seen if Volkswagen’s offerings will be embraced by consumers. It may be difficult to sell subscriptions to a vehicle’s performance increase on an hourly or daily basis, and it will be difficult to return to a lower-performing vehicle the next day.
The $8.5 per hour for self-driving allows people to do something other than drive, and for some drivers, the extra time is worth it, but for most people the decision will be harder.