Software Issues May Scrub Sales Launch of Volkswagen's Revolutionary EV

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Series production of the Volkswagen ID.3 began last November, but examples have yet to reach paying customers. The compact electric hatchback, seen as a people’s car for a new, greener age, is the vanguard of a massive EV product offensive from the auto giant. VW had hoped to give the model (which we won’t see here) a big, showy sales launch.

That launch, scheduled for Europe this summer, may not go ahead as planned. A report out of Germany claims the car contains so many bugs, an army of over 10,000 technicians is now tasked with fixing it.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard of software issues plaguing VW’s first ID-badged model. Reports emerged from Germany in December of “massive” software problems, with production models rolling off the assembly line requiring manual fixes. Now, the window of safety VW built into the model’s production schedule seems to be closing.

As reported by Manager Magazin (via Automotive News), the launch is in jeopardy as workers attempt to plug the many holes in the model’s software. Reportedly, the system controlling the vehicle’s many electric functions came together “too hastily,” leading to the ongoing issue. It seems many areas of the system don’t get along with each other.

The publication claims hundreds of VW test drivers have reported up to 300 errors a day. The ID.3 is VW’s first application of its MEB electric architecture and the software designed to make everything work; later models will include a crossover (ID.4), a microbus, and any number of sedans, SUVs, and perhaps even sports cars.

Following VW’s diesel emissions scandal, the automaker sunk mountains of money transforming itself into the world’s foremost purveyor of electric vehicles. As the first, smallest, and cheapest member of the ID line, the ID.3 has an important role to play. It will be the face of the new Volkswagen; the harbinger of a new era.

Should such problems find their way to the consumer, or if the ID.3 is delayed significantly, the potential for financial damage to VW through a lasting stigma and reduced sales could be enormous. The automaker knows it has to get this vehicle right.

[Image: Volkswagen]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Vulpine Vulpine on Feb 27, 2020

    I'm not surprised with these delays, especially when the new product is so different from their prior efforts. Don't forget that even the 'new' Jeep Cherokee from FCA saw significant delays while the 9-speed automatic transmission had to be fine-tuned in the changeover from a friction clutch to a dog-tooth version due to very harsh shifts early on. Now those shifts are almost imperceptible. VW will get these issues worked out... but how soon is anybody's guess.

  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Feb 27, 2020

    Ok, I stand corrected about the BSoDs. I must be one lucky guy, I haven’t experienced them in a while. But I believe that my basic argument still applies: Developing a reliable complex software architecture, being used in thousands of different ways by thousands of different users, is a skill set that automotive companies have yet to master.

  • Lou_BC Blows me away that the cars pictured are just 2 door vehicles. How much space do you need to fully open them?
  • Daniel J Isn't this sort of a bait and switch? I mean, many of these auto plants went to the south due to the lack of unions. I'd also be curious as how, at least in my own state, unions would work since the state is a right to work state, meaning employees can still work without being apart of the union.
  • EBFlex No they shouldn’t. It would be signing their death warrant. The UAW is steadfast in moving as much production out of this country as possible
  • Groza George The South is one of the few places in the U.S. where we still build cars. Unionizing Southern factories will speed up the move to Mexico.
  • FreedMike I'd say that question is up to the southern auto workers. If I were in their shoes, I probably wouldn't if the wages/benefits were at at some kind of parity with unionized shops. But let's be clear here: the only thing keeping those wages/benefits at par IS the threat of unionization.