New In-Car Tech

Next-gen Volkswagen Car-Net gets new app integration, no-charge services

The Volkswagen Car-Net system is getting significant upgrades for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Easy-to-use infotainment operating systems with mobile capability are becoming standard for automakers in North America. Now, with the debut of their next-generation Car-Net system, Volkswagen, the world's second-largest automaker, is making the leap to the modern digital age.

New Mobile App

Car-Net Remote Access will give owners the ability to control some functionality of their vehicle via a mobile app. The app can control a vehicle's remote start and stop ability (where properly equipped), remotely lock and unlock doors, honk and flash the lights of the vehicle, show the last parked location, and give the owner a view of their fuel level, mileage, and door and window status. It is free to use for five years from the date of vehicle purchase.

Volkswagen Car-Net Remote Access The new Car-Net app allows owners to remotely access their vehicle.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The app's parking information feature is powered by Parkopedia, which helps users locate off-street parking information. Users can press the "P" icon on their screen and the app will show them available parking locations near their chosen point of interest. That information can then be pushed to the car's navigation system, located in the head unit.

Vehicle Health Reports are automatically generated monthly and are sent to a driver's email address. When service is required, Car-Net can notify the customer and allows them to schedule a dealer visit.

Volkswagen's Family Guardian software sends an alert the vehicle owner when the vehicle travels over a pre-determined maximum speed limit and outside of a designated boundary zone. It also alerts when the vehicle is driven outside of a curfew timeframe and when it travels more than two-tenths of a mile outside a valet drop-off location.

Volkswagen Car-Net Remote Access The new Car-Net app can help drivers find their car if they've misplaced it in a parking lot.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Roadside Call Assist can be activated by touching the wrench icon in the app.

New for 2020, the DriveView program allows enrollees to become eligible for a discount from their insurance company, should the company support the driver monitoring program. Based on typical drive behaviors, the app gives the driver a score, which can then be passed on to their insurance company.

Car-Net Remote is offered on most 2020 model year vehicles.

Car-Net Safe & Secure

Volkswagen's Car-Net Safe & Secure is a paid subscription service that features information and emergency assistance, crash notification, anti-theft alert, and stolen vehicle location assistance in the same manner that OnStar does. The service costs $99 annually and renews automatically at the end of each year's subscription term unless cancelled.

Volkswagen Car-Net Hotspot A Wi-Fi hot spot is available in most model year 2020 vehicles.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Car-Net Hotspot

The branded Car-Net Hotspot service is a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot that allows users to connect up to four devices simultaneously. It runs on the Verizon Wireless network and customers who use Verizon as their wireless provider can add their mobile data plan to their existing plan as another line. Non-Verizon customers can opt for a pre-paid plan that costs just $20 per month plus associated taxes and fees, however the rate may not be available in all states.

Car-Net Guide & Inform

Volkswagen's navigation system, which provides enhanced infotainment functionality, is called Car-Net Guide & Inform. Using the factory-installed system, owners can access traffic reports, fuel prices, sports scores, movie times, and weather data as part of the three-month SiriusXM Travel Link trial. Car-Net enrollment and subscription is not required.

Oscar-winning auteur Spike Lee will introduce the 2021 Cadillac Escalade in Hollywood on Tuesday, Feb. 4, with the premiere of "Anthem," a short film he directed.

Photo courtesy of Cadillac

We've seen the redesigned 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, and GMC Yukon. Now, it's natural the redesigned 2021 Cadillac Escalade's turn. On Tuesday, February 4 Oscar-winning auteur Spike Lee will introduce the model at the premiere of his new film "Anthem".

What ties the two together? According to Cadillac, "Filmed with Lee's signature Double-Dolly technique, which heightens the sense of motion to draw viewers closer to the character, the film captures the presence, innovation and movement of the next-generation Escalade, with reverence for its more than two decades as a cultural icon."

2021 Cadillac Escalade The Escalade will feature industry-fast OLED screen technology.Photo courtesy of Cadillac

"As one of the greatest storytellers and most creative filmmakers of his time, Spike Lee's unique perspective is the perfect conduit for sharing the passion and spirit of the 2021 Escalade," said Steve Carlisle, Cadillac president. "It is an icon reimagined."

Along with bold new styling, the 2021 Escalade will feature industry-first curved OLED screen technology. It is likely that the vehicle will be for sale via Cadillac's new virtual car shopping experience, Cadillac Live.

The 2021 model will be the first in the fifth-generation of the Escalade.

The Mercedes-Benz EQC was originally slated to make its way to the U.S. early this year.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Manager Magazin is reporting that Mercedes-Benz is cutting production plans for its EQC electric SUV by half. The German magazine cites a shortage of battery cells from LG Chem. The South Korean battery maker is in the midst of acquiring a Quebec lithium mine from Nemaska Lithium Inc. That timeline is taking longer than expected.

Mercedes had originally planned on producing 60,000 EQC models in 2020 but is now planning on producing 30,000. The shift comes as Audi is adjusting from stumbling out of the blocks with an EQC competitor, the Audi e-Tron.

The new Mercedes-Benz EQC has a 80 kWh lithium ion battery. Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

In 2019, Mercedes had planned on selling 25,000 EQC but was only able to get 7,000 sales on the books allegedly because of the same problem.

Daimler is pushing back on the report saying that it will be producing 50,00 EQC models this year, which is still down from the 60,000 originally projected but not as few as the initial report indicated.

The EQC is a two-row luxury SUV. It features all-wheel drive and delivers 402 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque. The model is powered by a 80kWh lithium ion battery with standard DC Fast Charging for a 40-minute charge from 10 to 80 percent at a 110 kW DC charging station.

Mercedes has debuted the launch date of the model in the U.S. until 2021 after originally planning on having it arrive stateside in early 2020.

The EQ family of vehicles will include additional electric models in the coming years.