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New App for Electric Vehicles Finds, Controls and Pays for Charging

One of the great stresses of taking an electric vehicle on a road trip is figuring out where and when to charge your car.  It’s a problem and a concern that Volkswagen drivers can now scratch off their list, thanks to the German auto giant’s new app that helps monitor the vehicle’s current charge level, find a charging station, control and manage the charger, and then pay for the charging plan.

The We Connect ID app also enables owners of the Volkswagen ID.4 EV to use a smartphone as a remote control to manage vehicle functions like climate control adjustments and remote route planning.

“When developing the We Connect ID app, we took into consideration all the things that matter to our drivers,” Shelly Desmet, digital marketing manager of connected services, said in a press release. “The way people are driving is changing, and we are here to provide solutions that help make every day easier.”

Offering a Suite of Connected Services

Owners of the Volkswagen ID.4 EV have access to the automaker’s suite of connected services called Volkswagen Car-Net, which offers three packages.

Car-Net Remote Access EV allows owners to interact with their vehicle from miles away via the mobile app, offering functions that include remote battery stop/start charging, remote climate controls, searching for charging stations and finding off-street parking availability. This is offered at no additional charge for five years from the date of vehicle purchase.

These offerings will soon be supplemented by VW Car-Net EV skills for Amazon Alexa, which will be available later this year. When the skill in the Alexa app is linked to the owner’s VW Car-Net account, the driver can use their voice on an Alexa-enabled device to ask Alexa to send remote commands — for instance, “Alexa, ask Car-Net to start charging my ID.4.”

A second connected service, Car-Net Safe & Secure EV, is a paid subscription offering that includes emergency assistance and automatic crash notification. The subscription is $159 per year. Emergency assistance can be accessed through the SOS button in the vehicle; if a cellular connection can be established, it puts the driver in contact with the Car-Net service center, which can direct emergency responders to the vehicle’s location and notify the user’s emergency contact.

Enhancing the Owner’s Connection to the Vehicle

A third Volkswagen connected service, Car-Net Hotspot, allows passengers to access the internet with up to four compatible connected devices simultaneously. With the VW Car-Net mobile app, Verizon customers with an existing mobile data plan can add their Volkswagen vehicle as a new $20 line item to their existing monthly bill; non-Verizon customers can set up an unlimited plan for $20 a month.

Together, the automaker says, the app and these services will make it easier for those considering the purchase of their first electric vehicle to get up to speed with the ownership experience.

“User experience is crucial to achieving widespread adoption of electric vehicles,” Dustin Krause, Volkswagen’s director of e-mobility for North America, said in a press release. “From estimating range, route planning and connecting to our devices, these experiences not only enhance the owner’s connection with their vehicle, but also confront the obstacles that have hindered the mass market to shift to EVs. Common EV apprehensions, like range anxiety, are being tempered by building trust in the marriage between hardware and software.”

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