This week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas features a fleet of vehicles from Volkswagen that showcase the triple trends of electrification, autonomy and connectivity.
VW notes that its plug-in models, the e-Golf and Golf GTE, would be inconceivable without computers that control such functions as battery charging and switching between gas and electric drive sources.
“The two inventions of the century, the car and the computer, are gradually coming closer together. We need to design future mobility to be even more intelligent and even more networked,” said Volkswagen CEO Dr Martin Winterkorn.
One of the nifty new gadgets is an inductive charging system with a unique twist: before charging begins, a “power lift” moves the charging plate integrated in the parking space close to the underbody of the e-Golf. This results in a minimal air gap between the two coils, and offers greater energy efficiency than the usual fixed floor system.
All the driver needs to do is press a soft key on the dash display or a smartphone, and the car automatically and precisely parks itself over the charge plate. Once the e-Golf is in position, communication is established between the car and the system, and energy transfer takes place with an efficiency of 93%.
Another handy feature is the Charge Check function, which uses the e-Golf’s exterior lights to indicate whether the battery is still charging or is fully charged. The sidelights and LED running lights at the front, and the LED taillights and high-mounted stoplight at the rear allow the driver to check the state of charging from any angle.
Other new goodies include an e-Station Guide that shows real-time information for charging stations on digital street maps; improved smartphone and smart watch access; and Trained Parking. With this future generation of VW’s existing Park Assist feature, the e-Golf uses a camera to scan a frequently used path into a parking space, and learns how to park itself, even after the driver has exited the car.