Volkswagen is one step closer to launching its Project Trinity electric car. The company is planning to build a new factory in Wolfsburg which, providing the proposal passes through Germany’s regulatory board, will start building the new EV as early as 2026.
The factory will be built on the outskirts of Volkswagen’s current headquarters, acting as the new flagship plant for the brand. The firm will then modernise its Wolfsburg facilities over the coming years to match the Project Trinity plant’s level of technology. It will also tool the site up for increased EV production, spending €800 million (around AUD$1.25 billion) on the project.
Project Trinity will be an all-electric saloon, based on a new platform, which Volkswagen says will set new standards for range, charging speeds and autonomous driving.
The company says Project Trinity will deliver charging times that are “as fast as refuelling” a combustion-engined vehicle. And, while Volkswagen is yet to confirm the car’s range figure, the brand is adamant that its new architecture will deliver class-leading distances between charges, thanks to a focus on reducing weight – a current weakness of EVs.
The flagship is also set to become a leader in autonomous driving, says Volkswagen. On its release, Project Trinity will be capable of level-two autonomy – not unlike many systems on the market today.
However, it will come with all of the necessary hardware to deliver level-four automated driving as soon as regulations allow. That means the car can operate in any conditions, (usually in a specific geo-fenced area), without the need for human intervention. However, there is currently no legislation that allows such a vehicle to be used on public roads.
Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, has described the car as “a highly efficient flat-seat concept with an iconic design – our innovation leader.”
“Trinity is a sort of crystallisation point for our Accelerate strategy, a lighthouse project, our software dream car.” Accelerate refers to the brand’s pledge to make more than 50 per cent of its sales in the US and China fully electric by 2030, while focusing more heavily on developing digital technology and software – both in its cars and its production methods.
Volkswagen’s recent teaser image gives little away about Project Trinity’s styling. However, it’s clear to see that it will be a low-slung saloon, while a separate image hints at a very wide track, suggesting massive interior space.
Brandstätter described it as a “global toolkit champion” and that VW will be “taking the lead for a state-of-the-art flat-panel electrical platform.”
Speaking on the prosecution of Project Trinity, Brandstätter added: “Wolfsburg is becoming a flagship for innovative, fully networked production processes. We will demonstrate that you can build innovative electric cars in a highly efficient and economical way not only in Berlin, but also on the shores of the Midland Canal.”
Project Trinity will see the brand steer itself more towards the tech-led, software driven end of the market. It is likely that fewer variants of the new model will be produced relative to what is considered the norm today – indeed the hardware across the range is likely to be near-identical throughout.
Specifications will come through software changes – and it’ll be possible for many of the optional extras to be switched either on or off either via subscription services or through smartphone apps. This, according to Volkswagen, will help to simplify (and therefore cut costs of) the production process; an area that will become further streamlined thanks to a digitisation of the brand’s Wolfsburg plant.
“In the future, the individual configuration of the vehicle will no longer be determined by the hardware at the time of purchase.” says Brandstätter. “Instead, customers will be able to add functions on demand at any time via the digital ecosystem in the car.”