WE Connect ID.

August 16, 2020

What we have today with VW EVs'

Currently if you own a VW EV in europe, VW offers the "WE Connect" app to allow owners to control their EV from their phone. The app allows you to do things such as start charging, start the climate controll, check if the car is locked etc.

However users have not been very happy with the stability of the WE Connect solution. I have used the app for my eGolf for over 5 years and it definitely is not great. The functionality it offers is limited and it suffers from periodic problems that mean that I cant log in or it does not react when I turn the heating on.

The good news is that VW is launching a new app for the ID family of cars, and this time around they are doing things differently. They are using a new cloud based backed (finally) and have apparently built a new connectivity model.

The new WE Connect ID app

So the app has not been launched yet, but it was made available in some regions for a short period of time. I downloaded the APK and decompiled it to see just what what would be instore for us when VW launches the app for real. Note that this looks like an early version of the app and looks like it might change significatly before it launches

You can download the apk if you wish to install it on an android device. Or you can check out the video review of the app to see what you would expect.

Disclaimer: Do this at your own risk! We are in no way affiliated with VW. The apps are property and trademark of their respective developer or publisher and we are merely providing access to what is already publicly available.

What we learned abou the new WE Connect ID app

Installing the WE Connect ID app on an android device and exploring it for a while I learned the following:

πŸ—ΊοΈ Maps now show charging points

The new app's map is now much more usefull for EV owners. You can see all the charging stations around you and filter by different types. You can also filter out the charging stations that are supported by We Charge and Ionity.

Looking at the charging stations that show up in the app i see that it does display lots of the third party charging stations in Oslo such as Circle K, Fortum, Gronn Kontakt etc. Currently in Norway when you select the 'We Charge' filter it only displays Ionity charging stations, but this is likely to change in future.

The UI does not seem to have any start/stop functionality yet, but the code does support it and this seems to be something that is disabled for my particular car.

🏠 Customizable home screens

Depending on the functions that are available for your car, you can select different elements and customize what your home screen looks like. The app makes an API call to the backend to detect what capabilities each car has.

πŸ“‘ Data plans

The new app has the ability to manage your data plans, you get directed to a thirsparty system that managed the data packages.

πŸ“· Paring with car via QR Code

The old app required you to enter a code from your VW to pair it with your car and associate it with your account. The new app just asks you to scan a QR code from your car after entering the VIN. Simple.

Taking the WE Connect ID app apart

OK so the app (or the version of the app that I had access to) is incomplete. However by taking appart the app and ripping appart the APK there are some hidden nuggets of information that point us to what feature we can expect from the app when it is launched. Here are just a few of the things I have learned:

You can pre-heat or pre-cool the ID3 remotely using the app

You can heat or warm the car remotely using the app. The app also seems to allow you to control the heated steering wheel and heated seats remotely. This is something that VW has not offered before, and I really wish they had.

You can manage your charge plan within the app

You can manage your charging plan from within the app. You can purchase different plans, upgrade and handle payment using the ap.

Offline mode

The ID3 can be put into offline mode if you do now want the car to connect to the VW cloud services. I think this is a really nice feature for those of us who want privacy and control over the car. When you put your car into offline mode you can not control it using the app.

So what do we think ?

The new WE Connect ID. app internals look a lot more modern compared to the original WE Connect app, the use of tools and technologies does show that VW acknowledges that the original WE Connect app has issues.

  • It uses kotlin for the majority of implementation logic.
  • contocloud is used to handle payments and wallet
  • Integration with some Microsoft cloud services

But new does not always mean better, we will have to wait and see if VW can live up to its promises and offer a better solution. For now its too soon to tell if the are able to pull it off but initial impressions are good.

We have only spent a short time looking at the APK but as we dig deeper we will update this article with what we find.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

mwi lives in Oslo Norway and enjoys a bit of DIY and woodwork on the side, but most of the time he is taking things apart and and tinkering πŸ€–. He with his ID3 1st!