VW’s first mass-market EV suffers delay thanks to software struggles

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Volkswagen is delaying the release of certain versions of the all-electric ID 3 because the car’s software isn’t ready, confirming months of reports from German outlets like Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Manager Magazine about the company’s struggle to bring its first mass-produced electric vehicle to market.

People who preordered the “limited edition” version of the electric car will start receiving them as early as next week, according to VW. But customers buying the more widely-available (and more affordable) versions of the ID 3 will have to wait a few months longer. VW will ship some ID 3s in September, but the company’s App Connect infotainment system and the car’s heads-up display won’t be activated until a software update arrives. And VW says it won’t start shipping full-featured versions of the ID 3 until closer to the end of the year.

It’s a black eye for the project, and it’s one of the reasons why VW CEO Herbert Diess was stripped of his role at the brand this week. (Diess is still leading the larger Volkswagen Group.) Diess was also reportedly removed from the CEO position because of troubles with the launch of the new Golf, and because of a series of missteps on his watch, like a racist ad released earlier this year.

When the Volkswagen Group laid off thousands of factory workers early last year, the company said it was simultaneously creating thousands of new software jobs to help make up the difference. And in September 2019, the company told suppliers that it would handle software development itself — echoing the approach that Tesla takes

But the company has apparently overwhelmed itself, as Manager Magazine reported in December 2019 that VW decided to move forward with building some ID 3s with incomplete software. Now, the best case scenario is that the all-important car — the first in a deep lineup of all-electric ID-branded vehicles — is going to stumble out of the gate.

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