German automaker, Volkswagen, is considering a service that would charge passengers on its autonomous vehicles on an hourly basis. For example, if you don’t want to drive your vehicle for three hours during a long journey, you can opt for the self-driving facility and pay for it. Volkswagen plans to launch the first subscription plan for its vehicles based on MEB, a modular electric car platform that provides more space for e-mobility in a smaller area. Once Volkswagen’s self-driving features are ready, the service is expected to begin by the second quarter of next year, according to Volkswagen board member Thomas Ulbricht.
Ulbricht said in an interview to the German newspaper Die Welt that Volkswagen plans to offer hourly/daily subscription plans as well as other associated services. Passengers can still play video games in vehicles if the vehicle’s charging brake lasts for at least 15 minutes.
The new idea could be a real money maker for the auto giant as more and more companies are jumping on the e-mobility bandwagon. The idea is part of the auto industry’s quest to use technology to find new sources of revenue for itself. Then the question arises – would people want to pay per hour for the self-driving feature in their car?
“In autonomous driving, we can imagine that we turn it by the hour. We assume a price of about seven euros per hour. So, if you don’t want to drive yourself for three hours, you can turn it into 21 can in Euros (about Rs 1,870),” Klaus Zelmer, chief sales officer of the Volkswagen brand, told Ars Technica.
In a low-pitched dig at electric vehicle giant Tesla, he said Volkswagen will make autonomous driving more accessible to commuters by charging an hourly fee compared to a car with a “five-digit surcharge.”