Premium is not something you can just touch and feel anymore.

The beginnings of modern user interfaces

When Tesla launched the Model S back in 2012, car testers agreed on one thing: the chassis, workmanship and overall mechanics of this vehicle are catastrophical. Despite their advances in electric range and overall building an EV, Tesla had a difficult time with car testers at the time, as the "basics" were disappointing.

But what hardly anyone had realized at the time was that Tesla had taken a giant step in modernizing cars. The entire vehicle had a central computer with its own operating system, a completely new user interface and something that everyone is talking about today: Over the air updates

Premium ist schon lange nichts mehr, was man anfassen kann

Catching up and innovation fever

In the meantime, very well-functioning software has become a large part of a premium vehicle. Car testers my age focos day by day on new key features: Intelligent software integration creates more of a premium feeling than an excellent chassis, first-class gap dimensions or an Alcantara headliner. I also appreciate the advantages of a Porsche Taycan chassis, for example. But without Apple CarPlay and Android Auto it wouldn't be for me. Intuitively functioning interfaces are the be-all and end-all of a comfortable car.

Nowadays, it is very software-specific whether a car is recievew well or badly by the customer. I can also tell from the EQpassion community, a lot of questions are about the app, the radio or other software issues related to the smart. Daimler AG has been able to improve the mechanics for over 100 years, and smart Europe GmbH also benefits from this. But the new measure of all things is software, we are currently seeing the race between manufacturers regularly in the press.

Famous and notorious and has been in my FAQ for a long time, the "Charging not possible - Visit workshop" error. Some control unit bugs out in large intervals when the vehicle is started and has to be restarted manually in order to work again. Such errors cause frustration and are far from being called "Premium". Such mistakes are now at one level of frustration as flat tire every few months.

Connecting functions in the vehicle itself is very time-consuming, but today it decides what is premium and what is not. Some examples:

  • When I open the roof in my convertible, the automatic air conditioning should switch off and only start again when the roof is closed again.
  • When the automatic wiper detects that it is raining and starts wiping, the headlights should also turn on. No matter what the light sensor says.
  • The volume of the radio in the convertible has to adapt dynamically to the driving speed so that I don't become deaf when standing at the traffic lights, while at 100 km / h I can no longer hear my radio.

... it is such small details that need to be found and addressed. Tesla has been supplying its vehicles with new updates of this type for 10 years now, and the list of ideas is still not getting any shorter. So there is plenty of room for innovation here.

Premium ist schon lange nichts mehr, was man anfassen kann

It goes without saying that it is amazing when control units work ever closer together. At the end of 2017 there was an update for the smartEQ that the on-board computer gets the time from the navigation system. Now my time was still right when I crossed the border to Finland and England, without my intervention. And of course every time Germany switched between summer and winter time. But then it also has to be properly integrated. A few weeks ago, I had to persuade my on-board computer to freshly synchronize the time by manually switching summer time on and off on the navigation system.

Premium is no longer something that you can touch or feel. Premium is an intuitive operating concept, navigation with a charging station planner, reliable app control and all the little things that customers are increasingly expecting. Premium is also the option to digitally individualize my car. One-pedal drive, acceleration responsiveness, my radio station (or better, my streaming service) and everything that turns a car into my car.

smart Concept #1

With the production version of the smart Concept #1, smart will bring a 12.8 "screen in the middle of the vehicle. From here, almost everything on the vehicle will be adjustable. In addition, an animated avatar will help the user through the menus and functions. With the help of artificial intelligence, the avatar learns to understand his operator better and better and will therefore be able to support the user better and better.

There will also be a new app at the same time. It acts as a digital car key and offers seamless integration of networked services and functions related to the digital smart ecosystem. In this way, smart plans to become the absolute premium brand in their vehicle segment.

Addendum 09/19/2021:

My favorite comment on this article came from Axel S. "Today, e-mobility is what IT used to be. [in the 90s]"