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VW Already Talking About Dumping Touchscreen Controls in Future EVs

Touch controls have lost favor at one of the world's biggest automakers.
VW ID.7 steering wheel and touchscreen

Volkswagen will launch its flagship ID.7 EV with haptic touch controls on its steering wheel, and purely touchscreen-controlled infotainment. But it may be the last VW with this control scheme, because the ID.7 will reportedly re-adopt physical controls as VW reverses course on touch controls in its EVs.

Launching in 2024, the VW ID.7 will mirror the facelifted ID.3 by upsizing its touchscreen at the expense of physical buttons according to Autocar. VW apparently got mixed feedback on a prototype ID.7 interface that included buttons, and opted for configurable home screen icons instead of permanent single-function buttons. However, the ID.7 will reportedly switch out its haptic touch controls on the steering wheel after launch, as part of a broader push back toward buttons.

Last October, VW’s new CEO Thomas Schäfer reportedly said that VW will add buttons back to its interiors due to customer feedback. Its new direction was showcased on the VW ID.2all concept, which features physical controls on the steering wheel and under the touchscreen.

VW did not issue a statement as to whether the interface of the U.S.-market ID.7 will add physical controls after launch. The automaker’s EV push has stumbled Stateside in part due to poor interface design in its first mass-market EV, the ID.4 SUV. Switching to physical controls could improve VW’s outlook, as it’d put it in line with the ascendant Hyundai.

The Korean make recently vowed to keep physical controls due to the distraction hazard that touchscreens pose. Jaguar’s acclaimed former design director Ian Callum has also criticized touch controls for the same reason. It’s too soon to say that the trend of touch controls is in decline, but this looks like a promising start.

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