June 20, 2021

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What Would You Pay For Autonomous Driving? Volkswagen Hopes .50 Per Hour

What Would You Pay For Autonomous Driving? Volkswagen Hopes $8.50 Per Hour

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The future of driving may cost you $8.50 per hour if Volkswagen follows through on its boardroom musings. The German automaker is considering charging an hourly fee for access to autonomous driving features once those features are ready. The company 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, said Thomas Ulbrich, a Volkswagen board member, to the German newspaper Die Welt. Ulbrich said the first subscription features will 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 will 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 euros ($8.50) per hour. So if you don’t want to drive yourself for three hours, you can do it for 21 euros,” said Klaus Zellmer, chief sales officer of the Volkswagen brand. In a swipe at Tesla, he said that by charging hourly fees, VW would make autonomous driving more accessible 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.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.