VW's electric luxury car will come standard with many cool toys.
Volkswagen's ID.7 will launch with the smartest air-conditioning system in the world when it debuts in the second quarter of 2023. It may seem odd that VW invested so much into a system that has been around since 1940 and widespread since the 1970s, but one of the critical definitions of luxury is ease and comfort.
Rather than reinventing air-conditioning, VW is simply making the basic system smarter and more easily accessible via the touchscreen infotainment system. The ID.7 is obviously meant to be a competitor in the midsize luxury segment, and this new tech is one of a few luxuries VW will be boasting about until long after its official unveiling.
If you look at the dashboard layout below, you'll see the ID.7 doesn't have standard air vents that you manually adjust. The vents are electronically controlled, which sounds like an added layer of complexity the car doesn't need. But the idea is to set a preferred temperature maybe once or twice, and the car will sort it out for the rest of its lifecycle.
The car will start to distribute air throughout the cabin as soon as the driver approaches with the key. This is not a new system and has been around for at least a decade. The new stuff only happens when you open the door. If it's hot outside, the intelligent air vents will make a series of sweeping horizontal movements to distribute cold air as quickly as possible around the cabin. Or, if a person is the only occupant, the airflow will be directed directly to the body.
This is also the first air-conditioning system that considers the sun's position. A sensor in the windscreen can detect the sun's angle, and the system will direct airflow to that position to cool it down. It will also direct more airflow to the occupants on that side of the vehicle.
VW's intelligent air-conditioning can be set up via the "Personalisations" menu, and multiple driver profiles will be available. Think of it as a seat memory or individual driving mode selection for climate control.
In addition to setting up an air-conditioning profile for individuals, VW will also let the owner customize voice commands via "Smart Climates." As with MBUX and BMW's iDrive 8, you utter a phrase, and the car will do as you wish.
VWs are a bit more formal, it seems. Instead of waking the assistant up by saying, "hey," you have to say, "Hello, Volkswagen, my hands are cold." The car will switch the heated steering wheel on for a few minutes.
Naturally, all of this can be controlled via the infotainment system. If you've driven a modern VW, you'll know their touchscreens and operating systems are not on par. Volkswagen is working on it, and the ID.7 is the first evidence of this. The new 15-inch infotainment screen is apparently easier to use, and you can access the air conditioning menu with a single tap. Still, it seems a tad complex and doesn't solve the problem of distracting infotainment screens.
We'll reserve comment until the ID.7 arrives in the USA in 2024.