WOLFSBURG - It’s no secret that Volkswagen wants to go big on electric cars, but whereas its current ID.3 and ID.4 models are aimed at the more affordable end of the market, the German carmaker is now promising to produce a more premium sedan that “sets new standards” when it comes to range, charging speed and digitisation.
Volkswagen refers to its upcoming creation as “Project Trinity” and it’s only due to see light of day in 2026.
The vehicle will be highly automated too. Although it will be launched with Level 2+ capability, it will be ready for Level 4, Volkswagen says.
“We are using our economies of scale to make autonomous driving available to many people and to build a learning neural network. In this way, we are creating the conditions for the continuous exchange of data from our vehicle fleet – for example, on the traffic situation, on obstacles or on accidents,” said Volkswagen brand CEO Ralf Brandstätter.
“We will completely rethink the way we build cars and introduce revolutionary approaches” he added.
VW’s future models, such as the Trinity, will be produced with considerably fewer variants, the company says, and the hardware will be largely standardised. The cars will then have virtually everything on board and customers will be able to activate desired functions “on demand” at any time via the digital ecosystem in the car. This will significantly reduce complexity in production.
Furthermore, by developing the car into a software-based product, VW is creating the conditions for new, data-based business models. Entry barriers to individual mobility are to be lowered while at the same time offering even more attractive usage packages. Volkswagen intends to generate additional revenue in the usage phase – for charging and energy services, for software-based functions that customers can book as needed, or for automated driving.
“In the future, the individual configuration of the vehicle will no longer be determined by the hardware at the time of purchase,” Brandstätter said.
“Instead, customers will be able to add functions on demand at any time via the digital ecosystem in the car”.
Brandstätter says he hoped electric vehicles would account for 70 percent of its European sales by 2030, doubling its previous target in the face of ever stricter legislation.
These efforts are part of a strategy which has seen the VW group invest more than 30 billion euros (R550 billion) into e-mobility in order to comply with stricter environmental rules in the EU.
In order to achieve the new goals, VW said it would bring out at least one new battery-powered model each year between now and 2030.
VW's all-electric ID.3 became the second best-selling car in Europe last December, and the brand has Tesla in its sights with its 2021 ID.4 SUV model, which is also due to reach South African shores.
IOL & AFP