The Friday Five: The Land Rover Emergency Response, Audi WFH Wall Art, Volkswagen Basecamp Edition

This past week, we continually updated our coronavirus payment plans and programs hub with new information, and as final March auto industry sales numbers rolled in, the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic became clear. People quit buying cars, and April is looking grim.

But that’s not everything that was happening in the automotive space.

Jaguar and Land Rover Send Vehicles to Support Emergency Responders

More than 160 vehicles from Jaguar and Land Rover corporate fleets are on their way to assist the Red Cross during its coronavirus response efforts. These vehicles, including the all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender, were made available after the postponement of international launch events.

Jaguar and Land Rover send vehicles to support first responders

In their new role, 57 of the vehicles are assigned to the British Red Cross with another 65 deployed to the Red Cross Societies in Australia, France, South Africa, and Spain. The National Health Service and other emergency services in the United Kingdom also received support vehicles as well as additional medical equipment, such as safety glasses.

Volvo Brings the Service Bay to You

Volvo Valet is an all-new, app-based service that provides the company’s owners the luxury of never leaving home to service their Volvo. Available with participating dealerships, owners can schedule a service or maintenance appointment as well as vehicle pick-up/drop-off times within the app. Upon arrival to retrieve the vehicle, a dealership employee will leave a loaner vehicle for the owner to use while their Volvo is in service.

In order to provide full transparency, owners will be able to track the location of their vehicle and receive notifications regarding the work performed. Additionally, both the customer and loaner vehicles are photographed upon retrieval and return.

All Volvo vehicles, regardless of age, are eligible for Volvo Valet, but at the discretion of individual dealerships. Additionally, any service performed through the Volvo Valet app qualifies for Service by Volvo benefits, which includes lifetime towing and parts warranty.

Available for iOS and Android smartphones, Volvo Valet currently offers only maintenance and service scheduling but will expand to lease, purchase, and test-drive related services later in 2020.

Audi Offers Virtual Wall Art for Video Conferencing

With video conferencing replacing the conference call, there is no shortage of memes reflecting the drab decor, the screaming-child videobomb, or the questionable taste in artwork those working from home are displaying for their colleagues.

Enter the wallpaper.

No longer just a background photo on your computer screen, platforms such as Skype and Zoom offer the ability to add a virtual backdrop. And Audi is bringing specially curated images to its fans every week via its various social media channels.

With nearly a dozen images currently available, you can change things up for every video call, day of the week, or as your mood dictates. Follow Audi on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for new images, or bookmark this Dropbox page.

BMW Offers New Tech Specs on Hydrogen Vehicle

Following last fall’s unveiling of its X5-based i Hydrogen NEXT concept vehicle, BMW has announced the first details of its new fuel cell powertrain.

The fuel cell system alone offers up to 170 horsepower, but total system peak power will be 374 hp thanks to BMW’s fifth-generation eDrive unit. This battery powertrain will debut in the upcoming iX3 in addition to the i Hydrogen NEXT. And although estimated range was not provided, BMW did specify that refueling would take “3 to 4 minutes,” which is much, much quicker than any electric vehicle that is currently available can recharge.

BMW has collaborated with Toyota on hydrogen technology since 2013, and Toyota developed the fuel cells to be used in the BMW i Hydrogen NEXT. However, its fuel cell stack and overall system are all BMW.

A small batch of prototypes will undergo testing beginning in 2022, but don’t expect to see this vehicle any time soon. BMW doesn’t see a consumer product entering the market until the second half of this decade – at the earliest.

Volkswagen Sets Up Basecamp

Eventually, we’ll all be allowed outside again, and when that happens Volkswagen Atlas owners can use the new Basecamp accessory line to take their SUVs to a new level of ruggedness. Originally featured on an Atlas concept vehicle, consumer interest in Basecamp accessories was apparently strong enough to compel VW to make the off-road-themed upgrades available for real.

Made by Air Design, the Basecamp line is available a la carte or as a complete kit. The full package includes a two-tone front bumper guard, textured fender flares, integrated splash guards, rocker panel trim, and a satin silver rear valance panel with trailer hitch access. Exclusive to the kit are Basecamp badges.

The concept vehicle also displayed wheels by fifteen52, of which the Basecamp line will offer a production version available in two colors. Although no specific tire brand is recommended, VW does suggest 245/70R17 all-terrain tires to complete the overall look.