Suggests profit for VW at $10/hr for L4 driving
No more hunting for the right spec car
Volkswagen is looking at a new way to charge for its fanciest tech features for those who are interested in the tech but not the massive upfront payment that’s required. Since nearly every other product we buy offers a subscription service these days, VW says why not the car. The example they give is selling you Level 4 autonomous driving for $10 an hour.
Speaking with Top Gear Magazine, VW sales and marketing boss Klaus Zellmer sees this as a way to save money for the customer as well as the manufacturer. Including all of the sensors and hardware for every feature into every model, adding simplicity at the factory, the dealer, and for the buyer, since they won’t need to pay upfront to enable a feature they might not want.
“Over the air allows access to a car’s operating system. The interesting aspect is functions on demand,” said Zellmer. “If you happen to buy a car and weren’t convinced you needed an autonomous drive mode at the time, but then you decide you’d love to have it, we can switch it on, but we can then switch it off if the next owner of the car decides they don’t need it.”
Zellmer said that installing Level 4 autonomous driving modes into a car is a five-digit figure and that the price is “not for the mass market.” He then says that if they install it on all cars and flip a switch remotely, it’s a profitable business case that adds value for the customer. “Think about getting from London to say, Southampton on the train. How much is the train ticket? It’s certainly more than €7 (CAD 10) an hour.”
Zellmer said this can help used car values as well, since buyers of used models won’t cluster to the better-equipped models and will instead be able to pick from any of the same car and get the same advanced features.
Paying for your car by the hour might not sound appealing, but the idea of only paying for advanced driver assistance on your once yearly long trips certainly does. And it beats flying.