Curbside Newsstand: VW ID3 EV Launch Threatened By Massive Software Glitches; 10,000 Software Engineers Desperately Trying To Fix Them

VW’s attempts at emulating Tesla are the talk of the industry. CEO Herbert Diess’ publicly avowed bromance for Elon Musk and Tesla have been on display over the past few years, and Diess has committed some 90+ billion euros in a massive plan to remake the company with not just EVs, but ones that incorporate an all-inclusive and readily over-the-air updatable centralized software. In other words, the German Tesla. This feature is a core technology and one of the keys to the success of Tesla, and is considered to be 5-6 years ahead of the industry. But VW is determined to try to catch them.

But things are not going well at all. The heart of the program is their new ID family, which will be the basis of over 27 offspring across the various owned brands. Massive software problems are seriously threatening to delay its launch this summer. Just over a week ago I showed you an Audi etron dash alert for a required oil change, and I said No wonder Volkswagen is desperately hiring as many software engineers as possible.  Now VW has some 10,000 of them desperately trying to fix the problems.

From an autonews article today:

The problems stem from the basic architecture of the ID3’s software, which was developed “too hastily,” the magazine said, citing VW’s own experts. Many of the system’s elements do not understand each other, leading to dropouts and other difficulties, the report said.

Hundreds of test drivers of the car are reporting up to 300 errors a day, the magazine said.

More than 10,000 technicians are trying to solve the problems, which could delay the ID3’s launch by up to a year, the report said.

The ID was intended to be the first true Tesla Model 3 competitor, meaning designed from the ground up to incorporate the kind of features that have made the Tesla the head of the pack, and a hot seller in Europe. A crossover variant, the ID4, is intended for the US market, and VW is expanding its Tennessee plant in order to build it here.

Diess has said that the ID is as strategically important to VW’s future as were the Beetle and the Golf. VW started limited series production of the ID3 at its plant in Zwickau, Germany, in November. It said it is using the months until deliveries of the first cars to fix issues that may come up during further field testing. Meaning, the ones being produced now are not really feature complete, and will require substantial upgrading.

Any delay in the ID3 could prove costly for VW, which is counting on the model to help meet stringent new European fleet emissions targets introduced at the beginning of last month.

Interestingly, Tesla never had any real issues with its software, but then it is a Silicon Valley technology company at heart. Many have said that it’s easier for existing automaker to adopt new technology than for a tech company to master traditional auto making skills.  That argument is increasingly being put to the test, and failing.