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VW ID.7 has Porsche-style ‘smart’ air-con

Volkswagen is bringing an air-conditioning feature previously reserved for the exclusive Porsche Taycan electric car to a more affordable upcoming electric sedan called the ID.7, as well as debuting a feature that Holden introduced to the Commodore years ago.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is increasingly becoming a major part of the motor show calendar as vehicles pack in more technology, which is why VW chose this event to announce and demonstrate a prototype of its ID.7 with a smart air-conditioning system.

Similar to the system in a VF Commodore, sensors inside the ID.7’s windscreen detect the angle of the sunlight, which VW says happens “in conditions with high outside temperatures and high solar intensity”.

“If the sun is shining strongly onto one side of the vehicle, the ID.7 adapts the air-conditioning to an even greater extent for the warmer zones: first towards the respective area of the vehicle interior, and then in a second step specifically towards the vehicle occupants,” explains the company.

Conversely, in response to the voice command “hello Volkswagen, my hands are cold,” the heated steering wheel is activated and the HVAC system will also blow warm air onto their hands for five minutes.

Borrowed from the Porsche Taycan is pre-conditioning of the vehicle cabin when a person carrying the key is detected nearby.

If the door is opened in conditions with high outside temperatures, the electronically actuated ‘smart air vents’ quickly blow cold air over a large area of the interior by oscillating the airflow through horizontal movements.

Once people are seated in the car, the airflow is automatically redirected straight at them or used for indirect ventilation of the interior space, according to their preferences.

Also Porsche-derived is the ability to angle each HVAC vent using drag-and-drop type motions on the touchscreen rather than the time-honoured method of moving them manually.

Placing more HVAC controls into a touchscreen interface could brew trouble for Volkswagen, which has already copped criticism for burying these functions in submenus rather than providing simple physical buttons, switches and knobs.

However, having experienced the Taycan, the quick blast of cool or warm air before entering the cabin proves effective and the way the air sweeps around the cabin automatically due to the presence of automated vent actuators enhances the effect.

On the upside for VASA members, the added complexity of this system, and others like it, is likely to provide a steady source of customers in years to come.

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