A New World Of Connectivity
By Kyle Lindsay
Friday, August 11, 2017 - 13:20
Volkswagen Connect is now available from selected Volkswagen Retailers nationwide. Using a Dataplug and the Volkswagen Connect app, drivers will be able to access a wide range of information about their car and their journeys, and they can contact their Retailer or call Volkswagen customer support quickly and efficiently.
Volkswagen’s Car-Net system brings the benefits of internet connectivity into new Volkswagen models. Now Volkswagen Connect brings a variety of useful connectivity functions to cars built from 2008*. This is achieved via the simple retro-fitting of a Dataplug that connects via Bluetooth to the customer’s mobile phone. The result is the convenience for the customer of having their car connected to their mobile smartphone.
Step one to accessing this service is for customers to collect a Dataplug from their local participating Retailer. These plugs are being offered free until the end of this year. The Retailer will also fit the device to the car in a process that takes just a couple of minutes. To activate its features, the customer needs to download the Volkswagen Connect mobile smartphone app¹.
With the Dataplug and the app linked together via Bluetooth, the possibilities created by Volkswagen Connect are in the user’s hands. The car sends the user’s smartphone a burst of information at the end of each journey, which means there is no drain on the phone’s data. With the connection set up, the customer can interact with their Volkswagen in seven distinct areas.
First is the Trips function. This records information about each journey the driver takes, including the miles driven and the average fuel consumption measured in miles per gallon.
This works with the Fuel Monitor to give an accurate figure for the cost of every journey by comparing the miles per gallon figure with the cost of the fuel in the car. That information can be downloaded to a computer thus, for instance, potentially increasing the speed and accuracy of claiming expenses for mileage.
As well as understanding how much fuel has been used on a journey, the dataplug will send information to the connected smartphone about the way the car was driven. Known as Driving Style, this area of the app can save the customer money by offering advice on driving in a more fuel efficient manner.
A suite of options appears in the My Volkswagen area of the Volkswagen Connect app. The vehicle’s fuel level can be checked with ease and the customer can see when the car’s next service is likely to be due.
An extension of this is the Service Partner function. When the car is due for a service, it will automatically alert the driver through the app. If set up to do so it will also contact the customer’s nominated Volkswagen Retailer, who will then call the driver to arrange a service. Of course, the customer can opt out of this function. Additionally, if a warning light is illuminated on the dashboard the Volkswagen Connect app will pass this information to the Retailer, who can then call the customer to discuss the car’s problem. The app will also explain in plain English what the warning light means.
If the customer needs assistance, for example if they have broken down, they can use Volkswagen Connect to quickly call their preferred roadside assistance service. The Assistance Call function also provides a link to Volkswagen customer services so the driver can ask any questions they may have about their Volkswagen. To smooth the flow of all these conversations, the location of the car can be shared easily via text or email.
Volkswagen Connect is all about using information that is already present within the car and making it available to the customer. A further example of this is the Parking Space section of the app. It records the exact location of the car when it is parked, therefore potentially helping to reduce stress and save time when the driver wants to return to their vehicle.
Building on the functional elements of the Volkswagen Connect app is the My Challenges feature. This is a fun game that rewards drivers with points, depending on their driving style. They can also accomplish tasks related to safe and efficient driving and win virtual trophies, as well as unlock new tasks and compare their scores with other Volkswagen drivers.
All of these functions are provided without charge, and Volkswagen is developing the Volkswagen Connect app all the time. From the start of next year, the app will continue to be free but a nominal charge for the Dataplug may be introduced. However, customers can take their Dataplug from compatible Volkswagen to Volkswagen, a benefit that is also of use for fleets where drivers may have access to more than one Volkswagen vehicle.
David McMillan, Volkswagen’s Digital Service Product Manager, said: “Volkswagen Connect is an exciting addition to customer’s cars. We know that our customers enjoy ease of use and Volkswagen Connect assists with this because it brings the information that is already available within the car to the customer’s mobile phone app.”
McMillan continued: “We want to encourage customers to download the app and enjoy the benefits that it brings. Additionally, until the end of the year, Volkswagen Connect will also be offered in all used cars supplied through Volkswagen’s award-winning ‘Das WeltAuto’ approved used car scheme.”