And the car will keep improving.

Upgrading a car’s performance or fixing a software bug used to require a trip to the dealership or an aftermarket tuner, but both tasks can now be performed remotely for free via over-the-air (OTA) updates. The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4, the brand’s first electric crossover, arrives at US dealerships soon after being on sale in Europe for some time. The ID.4 features OTA update ability, much like other electric crossovers, including the Volvo XC40. Volkswagen says the ID.4 (and the ID.3 hatchback) will receive their first OTA updates by the end of summer 2021.

“Volkswagen is driving forward the digitalization of its products at pace and is transforming itself into a full-service provider of hardware, software, and services. The introduction of Over-the-Air updates is the next important step in our transformation into a tech company and in the development of new business models,” says Ralf Brandstatter, CEO of the VW brand.

Starting in the summer, VW will send out updates every three months. The updates will improve software performance, but may also add new functions and customization options. We’ve even seen Tesla add range to its models via OTA updates, but VW hasn’t promised anything similar with the ID.3 or ID.4. VW says the updates will ensure that all previously-delivered ID models have the same software version as a brand-new model, even years into the future.


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The first major update is called ID.Software 2.1, and will comes pre-installed on all vehicles produced after calendar week eight, 2021. Any customers who have already taken delivery of their vehicle will soon receive this software version. Because ID.Software 2.1 adds the OTA ability, owners in Europe will have to take their vehicle into the dealership just once to have it installed. After that first visit, future updates will happen automatically. A VW spokesperson told CarBuzz that US-spec ID.4 models will come pre-installed with OTA ability.

VW says it has already tested the first updates on over 3,000 company cars. In our early drive of the ID.4, we noted a few minor software bugs that will likely be taken care of by the OTA update.