Volkswagen has announced a new electric sedan that priced and equipped to compete with electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model 3, or something maybe a little bigger. TThe development program already has a badass name: Trinidad Project.
I don’t know why this is not aligned to the “ID” nomenclature that VW is currently building with the European ID.3 and US ID.4 crossovers, but it looks like it could be the automaker once again developing an all-new platform. .
Details on VW’s new Project Trinity sedan are scant, aside from the wide silhouette teaser image released today. VW CEO Ralf Brandstätter stated the new EV will be able to “charge as fast as refueling” a gasoline car at a fuel pump and offer “new standards in terms of range”. It’s also unclear what size the sedan is planned to be, but if it’s a flagship, it may not be as compact as the Tesla Model 3 in size. The only hardware the automaker was interested in detailing on the Trinity is the suite of driver assistance and autonomous driving equipment and systems on the platform.
The serial production version of the Project Trinity’s EV sedan will have a high standardized hardware with fewer equipment options available, according to the automaker. That means every car that rolls off the line will come with a standard hardware loadout, whether it paid for all associated options up front. You will be driving with the weight of your car equipment that you have not paid enough to use. VW presents this as turning the car into a “software-based product”, where the owner can pay to unlock features wirelessly, as all the necessary hardware is pre-installed (theoretically).
This supposedly reduces manufacturing complexity and, I’m extrapolating, probably simplifies service, order and delivery operations, and logistics processes as well. The inventory sheet gets smaller and the quality improves as the menu gets shorter, so to speak.
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“In the future, the individual vehicle configuration will no longer be determined by the hardware at the time of purchase”, Brandstätter says. “Instead, customers will be able to add features on demand at any time through the in-car digital ecosystem. ”
Some of those features are planned to include various levels of driver assistance, with equipment VW claims to be capable of. Level 4 autonomous driving without intervention in the near future, and hardware-ready for digital unlock when the owner chooses. The car will come standard with Level 2 driver assistance systems.
I remain highly skeptical of any system that claims capability or legality over and above current driver assistance functions. such as steering assist, lane guidance, automated distance cruise control and automatic braking systems yet it still requires full attention and concentration on the part of the driver.
Competitors like Tesla have lowered their toes in blocking or performance functions behind software paywalls in the name of hardware standardization to simplify the manufacturing process. While there were strong initial negative reactions, it is a manufacturing method that has been adopted among other automakers globally, such as China’s NIO EV range and Lucid. next lineup.
We will see how hardware standardizationaffects the price of the Project Trinity sedan, which will compete with the Tesla Model 3. In the European market, where the Model 3 is priced at € 39,990, German paper welt CEO Brandstätter reported that prices could start at “around 35,000 euros”.
That rises directly to just over $ 41,700 in US dollars, but prices in the United States are likely to be cheaper than the direct euro-to-dollar conversion. The Model 3 Standard Range Plus currently starts at $ 36,990 in the US on Tesla’s website, though a cheaper standard range may still be available through a store or by phone. Additionally, VW’s electric vehicle sales volumes in the US may still qualify for federal tax rebates for when the car goes into production in 2026, which Tesla buyers no longer qualify for, in addition to the State and local tax returns (which Tesla buyers still qualify for). for).
Regarding the name, VW says: “Trinity represents three crucial themes: a newly developed electronic platform with state-of-the-art software, simplification of the supply structure, and smart, networked production at the main plant in Wolfsburg. ”
That could be some kind of obvious excavation in the model 3 from Tesla, although it reminds me of the Trinity nuclear device proof, the first atomic bomb ever detonated. Certainly a world-changing event, but not one that you necessarily want to connect your brand with.