When Volkswagen introduced the ID.3 in 2019 it announced it as the Beetle of the 21st century, marking a new era in branding. The Volkswagen Trinity will take over to continue with the brand’s technological revolution in 2026. At the New Auto event the German group has shown a new image of the front of this futuristic electric car, has offered some new information about its SSP platform and the momentous changes that it will involve in its way of producing automobiles.
It was in June of this same year, at the Move Experience Center in Amsterdam, when Volkswagen showed the progress of this important project for the last time. The company showed the ID.4 GTX in a metallic finish and the Volkswagen Trinity silhouette next to the future ID.2, the electric utility entry to the range.
The Volkswagen Trinity is actually a project of an electric car straddling a saloon and a crossover that, according to the images that are known so far, shows a rather sporty look. A project that includes all the company’s hardware and software expertise. As stated Ralf Brandstatter CEO of the company, it will offer great autonomy accompanied by extremely short loading times. In its interim report for the first quarter of 2021, the manufacturer stated that it “will set new standards in terms of range, upload speed and digitization.”
The SSP platform
The Volkswagen Group is working on the development of a new platform called SSP (Scalable Systems Platform) whose roadmap is based on digitization and modularity. The Volkswagen Group will reduce complexity, take advantage of economies of scale and synergies between brands by accelerating the transformation to electric mobility.
The company defines it as “a set of high-performance all-electric propulsion tools for flat vehicles.” As in the case of the MEB, this new platform is also scalable and completely flat, following the skateboard structure that allows the battery to be placed in the lower part of the vehicle and lengthens the wheelbase (distance between the axles) which allows offering ample space in the passenger compartment for the occupants and the cargo area.
Audi’s Artemis project will be the first to use this platform in 2025. A year later, it will be the basis for the production of an affordable electric saloon that is now known as the Volkswagen Trinity project. This has been assured Herbert diess, Group CEO: “A fully electric car ready for Level 4 autonomous driving that will bring Artemis technology to the Volkswagen brand. Affordable for everyone ”.
Onboard connectivity and software will be based on the operating system VW.OS. CARIAD, responsible for the Volkswagen group car software, will be in charge of implementing it. W.OS v1.2 will debut on models based on the PPE platform such as the Audi Q6 e-tron and the electric Porsche Macan. The SSP models will be released with a new version, the VW.OS v2.0.
Software as a key piece for efficient production
If ID.3 marked the start of the use of tailor-made platforms for electric vehicles and their mass market production for the Volkswagen Group, the Trinity project will mark the beginning of software-based electric vehicles.
Volkswagen plans to offer significantly fewer variants in their models, so that the Trinity and the other electric vehicles that will be launched in this decade will be vehicles highly standardized. This approach will greatly reduce the complexity of production. Your customers will benefit from having all the features available on board simply by enabling them when they need them, even years after receiving the car.
The technical configurations the Trinity will be very limited which will allow high efficiency in production. The on-board hardware will allow access to most of the functions and it will be the customers who will activate them whenever they want. Thus, in addition to reducing production costs, the company would open a new source of income.
As explained Arno antlitz, CFO, Volkswagen Group most of the software-related R&D investments have been transferred to CARIAD, which will be established as an independent entity in the future. CARIAD’s business model foresees a significant initial investment of around 2,000-2,500 million euros each year. Later, in the revenue phase, CARIAD will receive license fees paid by brands or paid by third parties for using the software.
Just like other service providers offer premium plans for a month and even just one day, automakers can offer activation of its high-end functions on demand as an initial trial or as a permanent alternative to direct purchase. Additionally, software unlocks available on EVs may include improvements related to the performance of your engines, which can unleash more power by modifying their electronics software. They may also be modifications in battery capacity, allowing more autonomy to be released when necessary. At this point Volkswagen expects to be able to reach up to 700 kilometers in the WLTP homologation cycle.
Another practical example is the possibility of increase load capacity to reach rates of 250 kW or more. In addition, Volkswagen assures that the Trinity will have a level 2+ autonomous driving capability as standard, but that it will technically be ready for it. level 4 from the start of production. That will be another later update that customers will be able to obtain afterwards.
The road book in dates
The company initially confirmed that it will build the Trinity at the Wolfsburg plant in Germany starting in 2026. That plan could change, however. On November 10, 2021, Brandstatter announced that the Trinity could be built in an entirely new production facility. This would ensure that production of the current Golf and Tiguan, whose sales are very important to Volkswagen, will continue without interruption.
Brandstatter added that the Wolfsburg plant’s four internal combustion engine vehicle production lines will be reduced to two in the future, allowing the Wolfsburg factory to be modernized later. Volkswagen Group plans to implement the SSP platform in all its brands until production 40 million vehicles on it at the end of this decade.
As stated Markus Duesmann, Director of R&D of the Volkswagen Group and CEO of Audi, from 2026 until the end of this decade, the Volkswagen Trinity project will allow scale the SSP platform to sales volume segments: “We will have implemented the platform in all our main segments and all groups of brands.”