The fee will be about $8.50 per hour if Volkswagen follows through on its boardroom musings. This is not car rental or the lecky but to have the automatic driving switched on.
Thomas Ulbrich, a Volkswagen board member, told the German newspaper Die Welt that VW is also exploring a range of subscription features for its electric vehicles, including “range or performance” increases that can be purchased on an hourly or daily basis.
Ulbrich said the first subscription features would appear in the second quarter of 2022 in vehicles based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform, which underpins the company’s new ID.3 compact car and ID.4 crossover.
The executive said that Volkswagen would also offer video games in cars, similar to Tesla’s arcade. “In the charging breaks, even if they only last 15 minutes, we want to offer customers something”, Ulbrich said.
He said the automaker wouldn’t be developing the games themselves, and it’s not clear whether they’ll come preinstalled or be available for purchase through an app store. Volkswagen’s real moneymaker might be autonomous driving, though.
“In autonomous driving, we can imagine that we switch it on by the hour. We assume a price of around seven euro ($8.50) per hour. So if you don’t want to drive yourself for three hours, you can do it for 21 euro”, said Klaus Zellmer, chief sales officer of the Volkswagen brand.
He said that VW would make autonomous driving more accessible by charging hourly fees than “a car with a five-digit surcharge”. That’s not to say Volkswagen isn’t hoping to make serious money off the subscriptions. In total, Zellmer said he anticipates the subscriptions will eventually make the company hundreds of millions of euros in additional revenue.