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VW’s new smartphone-like infotainment system uses Apple Carplay and Andriod Auto

Volkswagen will offer one of the world’s first compact cars with gesture control functionality; new infotainment system has a configurable 9.2-inch home screen

• New infotainment system with gesture control to be launched in compact cars
• Configurable home screen with interactive tiles enables driver-selectable preferences
• Tiles can be configured for any of ten different functions (e.g. Music, Phone)
• “Electronic voice amplification” allows easy communication with back-seat passengers
• Personalization settings can be saved to the cloud for access in other Volkswagen models

Las Vegas, January 2016 — Volkswagen returns to CES 2016 with two ground-breaking, zero-emissions vehicles: the BUDD-e concept and the e-Golf Touch. BUDD-e is a concept vehicle that will take CES attendees on a quick time-hop to the year 2019. In contrast, the e-Golf Touch, with its next-generation infotainment system, shows that technologies showcased at CES 2015 are close to production.

Additionally, Volkswagen will introduce numerous electronic innovations at CES 2016, to debut in the very near future. These developments illustrate how cars are currently undergoing immense transformations via electronics. New innovations control drive functions, allow driver assistance features to react faster, and increase connectivity by bringing the Internet into the car. Other technologies will transform instruments, displays and controls allowing for a new level of functionality.

Interactive Human Machine Interface (HMI) functions make new communication channels between humans and cars possible—and natural. Devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart watches and cameras have become omnipresent in our everyday lives, and are being integrated into the car in new ways. This fusion is accelerated by more powerful computers and increasingly intelligent software, resulting in evolutionary leaps that are destined to transform the automobile.

Bringing gesture control to mass production cars

The Golf R Touch concept car that was shown at CES 2015 was the first production-based Volkswagen to feature a gesture control system. With the introduction of the e-Golf Touch, Volkswagen presents a more advanced generation of the Modular Infotainment Toolkit (MIB) and for the first time, an early series-production preview of this new intuitive control technology. The e-Golf Touch features the latest version of MIB with a 9.2- inch high-resolution display (1280 x 640 pixels). All functions and displays are embedded in a sophisticated, clear glass surface.

Facing the driver are four touch-sensitive buttons (Menu, Home, Car, App) and a push-rotary switch. The system’s 8.2-inch wide and 4.1-inch high home screen consists of a large main area as well as two configurable tiles on the right of the home screen. Each tile area, sized 1.7 inches high and 2.4 inches wide, can be assigned any of ten different functions. They can include Media (including cover art) or phone (including photo caller ID). It is also possible to drag the main area out to fill the entire home screen, displaying the full navigation map or smartphone integration platforms such as MirrorLinkTM, Android AutoTM or Apple CarPlay®, through Volkswagen’s Car-Net® App-Connect interface.

The e-Golf Touch also marks the debut of Volkswagen’s latest generation voice control technology. This system offers significantly improved controls, as voice commands are displayed on the screen to accompany the request. This new version of the voice control system will be launched in the early summer of 2016 in Europe.

Volkswagen will also be the first manufacturer to present a new “Keyword Activation” voice recognition function in the e-Golf Touch. This feature allows the driver to start voice recognition simply by saying “Hello Volkswagen”, or similar, to the system. This eliminates the need for physical activation.

Wireless Charging

In the context of electric cars, we typically think of inductive charging as related to the car’s battery. But in the case of the e-Golf Touch, this process refers to smartphones and similar devices, as Volkswagen has integrated an inductive charging system into the mobile phone tray, under the infotainment system. For the first time on a Volkswagen model, it is also possible to wirelessly charge smartphones in the back seats, via the rear armrests. The e-Golf Touch is equipped with a new USB Type C port, permitting high-speed USB data transfer while simultaneously charging the phone. This feature drastically reduces the time it takes to recharge.

Electronic Voice Amplification

The electronic voice amplification used in the e-Golf Touch improves in-car acoustics, making it easier for the driver and front-seat passenger to talk to back-seat passengers. The system uses the hands-free microphone in conjunction with the rear speakers. The volume of the electronic voice amplification is also automatically adjusted to suit the speed of the vehicle. If the music volume is very high, the volume of the electronic voice amplification is reduced.

Next-generation connectivity

The range of functionality for the Exit Screen will increase considerably with this new infotainment system. For the first time, the exit screen will offer personalized, simplified access (one touch) to functions relevant to the real world, in real time. This makes it possible, for example, to program the auxiliary heating system within a matter of seconds, as the infotainment system displays the predefined settings for a predetermined length of time. Volkswagen will offer the Exit screen functionality in all future generations of vehicles. An individually configurable entry screen is also currently under development.

Personalization 2.0: The number of convenience and assistance systems and the associated range of configurability increases with every new vehicle generation. Many of these systems are individually adjusted, and used by different drivers of the same car. Invariably, this means that settings have to be constantly reset. Volkswagen conceived Personalization 2.0 to solve this challenge. This allows individual settings for one driver to be saved in a user account, then saved to the cloud via Volkswagen Car-Net ID.

If that driver then gets into another compatible Volkswagen, they can simply load his or her Car-Net ID settings in the infotainment system, activating them in the new vehicle. This effectively means that drivers will always have their own individual settings with them, which is especially handy for use in rentals, company cars, or even within families. Using the Volkswagen Car-Net ID app also makes it possible to change your settings in your user account and save the updates to the cloud. The app can be used to familiarize users with a new Volkswagen in advance. All user data is protected against unauthorized access by utilizing advanced third-party encryption and can be deleted quickly by accessing the app.

Media Control, Generation 3.0: Volkswagen Media Control is the rear-seat entertainment system of the future. The app allows control of almost all infotainment functions through a tablet device. Simply connect a tablet via the vehicle’s WiFi hotspot, and passengers are able to control various features such as the radio, all media sources (USB, CD, DVD, hard drive, online song search) and factory-installed navigation. This third generation of Media Control will launch this summer in Europe, and adds several additional features, including:

• Video streaming between tablets.

• Remote control of the media that is playing on tablets via the infotainment system. This makes it possible to play a film simultaneously on two separate tablets in the back, which a great feature for traveling with children.

• Audio streaming a playlist via tablet or smartphone to the infotainment system (synchronized audio playback via the vehicle’s speakers). The current playlist can be customized by all in-car users of the app, via compatible devices.

Car-Net® App Connect and WiFi: Volkswagen Car-Net® App Connect is the brand’s advanced smartphone integration platform that allows for seamless integration from your device to the vehicle. When linked to the infotainment system, the Telephone app can be used—via the system’s touchscreen—with a graphic interface that mirrors that of the smartphone being used. Similarly, the voice control which is available on several smartphone operating systems, map or music apps can also be used in the same manner. Through Car-Net® App Connect and the MirrorLinkTM, Android AutoTM and Apple CarPlay® integrated platforms, the system is compatible with most available smartphones currently available. Previously it was necessary to connect the smartphone to the infotainment system via a cable. With Volkswagen’s introduction of the second-generation ofCar-Net®AppConnect&WiFi,userscantakeadvantageofwirelesssmartphoneintegration. Oncethe function has been configured, the smartphone can be left in the user’s handbag or jacket pocket. On longer journeys it is, of course, advisable to put the smartphone in the Volkswagen’s wireless inductive charging cradle to supply it with constant power.

Volkswagen Car-Net® Updates: The various online services offered by Volkswagen Car-Net® include the Guide & Inform, Security & Service, App Connect and e-Remote packages. At CES 2016, Volkswagen is showing a number of new programs and add-on features for Volkswagen Car-Net.

• Car-Net App Features. The e-Remote feature, developed for Volkswagen’s plug-in hybrid and electric cars, will be reconfigured, and will soon be available for other VW models. As part of this process, the app’s functions are being expanded to be integrated into existing Car-Net® app functions. One of the app’s new functions is named Calendar Import. When information about a destination is imported from your smartphone, the data can be transferred to the navigation system’s Frequent Routes menu, if so desired. From there, the data can be integrated directly into the route guidance. Another new extension is Intelligent Route Planning, where the app calculates an optimal route to several selected POIs. The driver can enter several different stores as POIs in a certain order—for example a dry cleaner, jeweler and a supermarket. The Volkswagen Car-Net App will then automatically suggest the best and most efficient route and sends it directly to the infotainment system.

• New app for MirrorLinkTM. An extremely useful new program for MirrorLinkTM users is called My Rules. My Rules helps to complete important tasks, through a simple, logical “if this, then that” approach. Examples of this functionality include programing the app with requests like “Take me to the nearest gas station, as soon as my reserve indicator lights up”, “Play the song ‘Summer in the City’ when it is a clear, warm day”, or “message me to remember shopping I need to do this weekend.”

The focus of feature add-ons for Volkswagen includes the service aspect. The new Service assistant can recommend switching to winter tires after experiencing persistently low temperatures. The Charging assistant for electric cars shows charging stations within range and indicates how long it will take to charge. The Accident Note app helps to record all necessary information in case the worst should happen. Parking Position displays where the car is parked on its owner’s smartphone and can display walking directions through Google Street View. The Route Info app suggests charging stations that are along a planned route, and provides information on the applicable road traffic rules when you cross a national border. The Calendar assistant can be used to manage the availability of a shared company car online with your colleagues.

Smartphone Notifications: Volkswagen has come up with a solution that allows drivers to stay informed, legally and without being distracted, through smartphone notifications. If the driver wants to know more, the notification can be read out fully. At speeds below 3 mph the whole notification is displayed. Above 4 mph this function is deactivated for safety reasons, in which case only the headlines or the first few words of the message are displayed.

• Social media notifications. Volkswagen presents a two-stage extension of smartphone notifications, which will not only allow the driver to have social media notifications from Facebook and Twitter displayed, but to reply to them immediately:

Step 1: The driver can reply to Facebook and Twitter updates displayed as pop-up messages, using a reply option. Reply options correspond to common social network interactions, such as retweeting. In the near future, it will also be possible to reply via voice command. While stationary, it is possible to enter free text using a keyboard.

Step 2: In the second stage of the extension, the car will be given its own identity, as well as a Twitter account. The car can then post messages itself, though the driver will still be required to approve them. If the vehicle’s speed falls below 12 mph for a predetermined length of time, the car could, for example, tweet “Wow, traffic is bad! Sorry guys, I’m going to be late. I’m at a crawl.” If the temperature falls below freezing and the car’s stability control system is active, the message could be: “Hey guys, drive carefully. It’s freezing here and getting slippery! #Thanks, ESC.” This allows friends and family who “follow” the car to stay informed about the state of the vehicle and the surrounding road conditions.

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VW commiting $10 to electric recharging infrastructure – scam language?

In the forum, I posted a press release from VW  where they commited $10 million “to support electric vehicle infrastructure”.  My question – “to support electric vehicle infrastructure” is a very broad term.  Do they mean lobbyists?  Research funding to push VW developed standards?  Power grid development?  Building electric vehicle charging stations?
While the press release sounds nice, I believe they mean $10 million for lobbyists!  The key words are “continued legislative support” aka, money for re-election campaigns.  “Federal financing support” = lobbyist dollars.  “further congressional support with the mid-term review” – we’re going to push this for the mid term elections.
What do you think?  Post in the forum and read the press release here:

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Seriously, wind thumping noise in the Volt needs a dealer fix?

A common complaint in many new cars is wind resonance at high speeds with a window all the way open.  This is due to better aerodynamics which we want.  This resonance often sounds like a flat tire or produces a pressure on your eardrums.  Sunroofs can also produce the throbbing sensation.  If you blow across an open bottle top you’ll get the idea.

Solution: open the thumping window more or less, open another window a crack to get some cross flow, or turn up the interior fan ventilation.  Any of these will stop the thumping.  The bigger issue for an economy car is that drag reduces fuel economy at speeds which can produce any thumping.  As a rule of thumb, it’s more efficient to use the climate control or adjust the fans to get a breeze at greater than 40-45 mph.

I guess this isn’t good enough for many people because the Chevy Volt now has a dealer kit to fix the thumping by disturbing the smooth aerodynamics.  It’s additional side mirror trim that sticks out and deflects the air into the cabin.  It requires at least a day for installation since it requires painting.  Just crack another window open!

From Autoblog

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How Colombian FARC Terrorists Mining Tungsten Are Linked to Your BMW Sedan (and VW)

Bloomberg Markets is reporting that BMW, Volkswagen and Ferrari have been using tungsten ore sourced from Colombia’s FARC rebel terrorists. The extensive story focuses on Colombia’s illegal mining trade and calls into question the provenance of the rare ore that is used not only in crankshaft parts production, but is also found in the world’s computing and telecommunications industry for use in screens.

The ore is mined by the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army), and exported to Pennsylvania, where it is refined. The refined ore is then sent over to Austria, where a company called Plansee turns it into a finished product. Now, it’s important to note that we aren’t talking about the world’s supply of tungsten here. In 2012, Plansee’s American refinery purchased 93.2 metric tons of tungsten, valued at $1.8 million. That’s peanuts, with the entire Colombian tungsten mining industry producing just one percent of the world’s supplies.

That doesn’t make indirectly supporting FARC any more acceptable, though. BMW, VW and Ferrari are all committed to not accepting mineral supplies from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is also in the grips of a guerrilla insurrection funded, in part, by illegal mining. The same commitment would figure to extend to Colombian mining, but as BMW points out, it’s difficult for a multi-national manufacturer to know where every item in its supply chain comes from. A company spokesperson says as much, telling Bloomberg, “These few grams out of the billions of tons of raw materials passing through the BMW supply chain are of no practical relevance.”

This response is perhaps somewhat blasé, but BMW, Ferrari and Volkswagen aren’t directly negotiating with the FARC rebels, and we’d be stunned if the three manufacturers were even aware of where the tungsten was coming from. By the time it arrives in their respective factories, it’s traveled from Colombia, to Pennsylvania to Austria, making for a rather difficult web of countries and networks to track. Even so, with Bloomberg drawing a spotlight on the activities, we’re assuming a few phone calls are going to be made.

from autoblog

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VW XL1 video at the Geneva auto show 2013

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VW Golf Hybrid rated at 188 mpg? A closer look at the fuel economy rating.

The VW Golf hybrid was just confirmed for model year 2014 and is rated at 188 mpg!  However, before you say this number can’t be real, it probably is and you probably won’t get that mpg except in optimum conditions.  I predict the fuel economy rating of the VW Golf hybrid will be in the 90 mpg-e (e for equivalent) range.  Maybe up to 100 mpg-e or high 80s, somewhere in that neighborhood.  How did I arrive at this number?

First, the 188 mpg rating is a projected number for the European driving cycle which favors city driving and benefits from things like engine start-stop features.  The US driving cycle does not gain anything from engine start-stop even though it will increase real world fuel economy.  So if your driving habits are mostly city where hybrids shine and less highway, expect a higher mpg-e and real world mpg.

Most of this is because the VW Golf hybrid will be a Chevy Volt style hybrid instead of a VW Jetta style hybrid or Prius hybrid.  The Golf has a 31 mile electric only range vs. the Volt’s 35 miles electric only range and 94 mpg-e rating.  The Jetta hybrid and Prius hybrid have an insignificant or limited electric only range.  Even the Prius plug-in hybrid with lithium ion batteries has only an 11 mile electric only range and is rated at 95 mpg-e.

So even though the plug-in Prius has a very short electric only range, it still gets a high mpg-e rating in the 90s.  So I’m calling the VW Golf hybrid mpg-e rating in the 90 mpg-e range, or as the Chevy Volt calls it, 200 mpg!

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Audi testing A1 e-tron Dual-Mode Hybrid concept [w/video]

Small car, many motors.

Audi, which has been testing its A1 e-tron extended-range plug-in around Munich, has started doing the same with a version that has a conventional engine and two electric motors.

Audi’s Dual-Mode Hybrid A1 e-tron concept car has multiple drivetrain modes that let the plug-in hbyrid’s 1.5-liter TFSI internal combustion engine like both a conventional engine and an on-board generator, depending on the car’s speed and other conditions. The engine can also be disengaged from the drivetrain by a claw clutch when needed. This is usually when the car is operating in electric mode, up to speeds of 34 miles per hour. Then there’s serial mode, where “the combustion engine and the alternator … produce electrical energy to support, relieve or substitute the battery should it be discharged.”

There’s a four-minute video floating around that provides some computer-generated images of the car’s exterior and drivetrain system and that lays out how the car operates, complete with cool, mellow electronica music. You can see it below, along with Audi’s too-long press release. The upshot is that the dual-mode e-tron delivers a combined 177 horsepower, can go about 56 miles on battery power alone and gets a whopping 235 miles per gallon equivalent (using an unspecified measuring stick).

Audi has already tested its “regular” A1 e-tron extended-range EV for about 30,000 miles. That concept car combines a rotary-engine range extender with an electric motor to give the vehicle a total range of about 150 miles.

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Back to the past and not in a good way

One of the cars they had at the 2012 New York Auto Show was the electric Delorean.  Yes, the Back to the Future car.  While the Delorean was a revolutionary car and a much loved movie hero, this car should have stayed in 1985.

The presenter was well informed about the car and the electric Delorean had some nice specs: 0-60 in about 5 seconds, about 100 mile range, and 125 mph top speed.  Unfortunately, one major problem is that…it’s a Delorean.

Both electric and gas powered Deloreans are sold as new, untitled cars from the 1980s because the cars are built from new, unsold frames with VINs from the 80s. When the original Delorean went under, they had years worth of parts to build new cars which were eventually bought by the new Delorean. The new Delorean can completely rebuild old cars or build you a new one from spare parts. The problem is that they’re still building cars from the 1980s. 30 years of advancements in car design are generations beyond the old safety, suspension, and convenience features of the Delorean. Since the car was designed in 1976, it was designed before computers did most of the design and engineering testing. One of the reasons kit cars can be built to such high performance levels at minimal cost is because they don’t meet any modern safety, emissions, or fit-finish standards. And even then, since you’re building it yourself, you save lots of money. The new electric Delorean has an estimated price of $95,000. For that kind of money, why wouldn’t you buy a Tesla? Because they’re too common?

If I had the car and parts, I would happily assemble this car as a toy or boulevard cruiser but when there’s a much better modern car, I don’t know how many buyers will choose this.  Even a mass produced Tesla or Leaf have limited capability. So what is this car? A fun project and good promotional tool for a good car from 1985. The license plate says “Gas? Where we’re going we don’t need gas”. I’ll wait for the hover conversion.


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VW e-bugster video

I came across this video of the new e-bugster. It’s only a concept but it does give some clues as to what future electric and hybrid VW might feature.

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Volkswagen eT! electric delivery van is out of this world

The writer F. Scott Fitzgerald once opined that using an exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the latest work van concept from Volkswagen. The German Automaker has partnered with the German Post Office and the University of Art at Braunschweig to create the eT! electric delivery van. The company says that vehicle offers zero-emissions driving and can be operated by a joystick-type device on the passenger side if necessary. We aren’t entirely sure how that second feature lends itself to making deliveries any easier, but we applaud the automaker’s efforts toward facilitating practical jokers everywhere.

Perhaps more impressive is the fact that VW says that the eT! can be operated semi-autonomously. The vehicle can follow a delivery person from house to house or return to the driver after being parked. While there are no details currently available on the vehicle’s drivetrain, Volkswagen does say that the eT! is equipped with electronically opening doors.

eT! is electrically powered and drives semi-automatically on command

Driver can steer the eT! by ‘drive stick’ from passenger’s side as alternative

Wolfsburg / Potsdam, 18. November 2011. For over 60 years now, commercial vehicles from Volkswagen have maintained a visual presence on the world’s streets. They are helpers in everyday life, which bring us people goods, services, postal deliveries and occasionally emergency assistance as well. Volkswagen Group Research, which is responsible for the world of tomorrow, together with the German Post Office (‘Deutsche Post AG’), which is one of the largest customers of lightweight commercial vehicles – as well as the University of Art at Braunschweig – formed a think tank on future transport and mobility issues. Finally, these research activities led to a completely new vehicle concept for the delivery and logistics field: eT!

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Leohold, Director of Volkswagen Group Research: “We analysed process flows and customer needs in detail, and from these analyses we derived ideas on how the segment of delivery and courier vehicles could be further developed over the long term. In this context, we focused on zero-emissions driving and available space in urban areas, semiautomatic driving functions that offer relevant support and simplify work processes and the integration of new communication technologies. On top of that, we also set out to design a very emotionally appealing commercial vehicle. To attain these goals, our teams not only looked towards the future from the past, but also worked from a future perspective to implement an advanced development concept based on technologies available today.”

The eT! research vehicle could someday actually revolutionise the world of lightweight commercial vehicles. Completely reconceptualised, driven with zero emissions, thought through to the last detail and driving semi-automatically if necessary! Just how wide-ranging the significance of this research project could be for sustainability in the transportation field is underscored by the support for the eT! project by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. “The eT! research vehicle,” explains Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber, spokesperson for the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, “unifies a whole gamut of innovative functions, which will gain in future importance, specifically for logistics businesses. In particular, the possibility of driving the car semi-automatically – and electrically – in downtown areas unifies economical and environmental aspects more systematically than ever. As a vision of the future, the eT! Is showcasing what is the maximum feasible technology for electric vehicles in the commercial market today with a special design that systematically addresses future customer needs.”

“eT! is a pure electrically powered transporter that systematically transfers E-mobility to the area of commercial use,” says Dr. Rudolf Krebs, Group Manager for Electric Traction at Volkswagen AG. And continues: “As a transport specialist, the eT! is advancing to become the automotive building block for an innovative, future-oriented logistics concept, which not only drives with zero emissions in urban areas – thanks to its electric wheel hub motors – but also offers maximum freedom in manoeuvering and turning as well as optimal utilisation of the vehicle’s interior space. If ‘refuelled’ with electricity generated from renewable energy sources, the eT! can indeed be operated with zero emissions. Naturally, the eT! is not a vehicle which – unlike the Golf or up! with an electric motor – could become available very soon. But we must make plans today for what the world of lightweight commercial vehicles might look like starting in the second half of this decade, including with regard to electrical drives.”

To make the working world of mail delivery personnel and courier drivers simpler and safer, to optimise the logistics of delivery and to shorten delivery times, eT! can be operated semiautomatically in certain situations. The car can follow the delivery person from house to house (“Follow me”), or the car can return to the delivery person on command (“Come to me”) – driverless! As an alternative, the driver can direct the car’s movements via a ‘drive stick’ from the passenger’s side that also offers a standing seat and quick access to the vehicle. On the passenger’s side – the side that faces the sidewalk and therefore the working area of the delivery person – there is therefore an electrically opening sliding door that opens to 2 different stages; this enables extremely quick entry into the vehicle as well as quick access to the mail parcels. This makes unnecessary walking movements around the vehicle a thing of the past.

Variants of this lightweight transport vehicle could be implemented for all conceivable business uses. And these derived concepts are also the focus of research activities. Meanwhile, the eT! concept shown in a world premiere at the Design Centre of Potsdam was specially designed for delivery of mail shipments of all types. The research vehicle will now be integrated in a driving test study and further analyzed


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