In case you haven’t heard, Volkswagen is going all in on electric vehicles – it has a pair of dedicated ID. EVs on sale and will flesh out the lineup into a full range of hatchbacks, sedans, wagons, SUVs and even a van. But the company is already looking ahead at the next generation and has begun teasing a new sedan tentatively called Project Trinity, promising a huge leap forward from its current offerings.

Wolfsburg says the car will set new standards in “range, charging speed and digitalisation”, including the ability to drive with near-full autonomy. But don’t hold your breath for the car to arrive in showrooms soon – it’s only set to enter production a full five years from now, in 2026.

What’s more, the Trinity will only feature Level 2+ semi-autonomous driving capability at launch, although it will have the technology required for Level 4 autonomous driving. We’re assuming that the company will enable the functionality once it is certified by local authorities.

“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.

Volkswagen ID. Vizzion concept

The technology, he added, will save time and reduce stress by driving users to their vacation or their home after work, letting them arrive relaxed. “Trinity therefore becomes a kind of ‘time machine’ for our customers.”

According to VW, the car will also save time when it comes to charging – a new vehicle architecture will ensure that the Trinity’s battery will be able to be juiced up “as fast as refuelling.” Brandstätter said that the car is “a sort of crystallisation point for our Accelerate strategy, a lighthouse project, our software dream car.”

The Trinity name stands for the three crucial components of the project – a new electronics platform and software, a simplified supply structure and a fully-networked intelligent production process at the Wolfsburg plant. “We will completely rethink the way we build cars and introduce revolutionary approaches. Digitalisation, automation and lightweight construction play an important role here,” Brandstätter said.

Apparently, the company’s future models will be available with fewer variants and largely standardised hardware. They will have virtually every piece of kit fitted, with customers able to activate those functions on demand via the car’s digital ecosystem, reducing production complexity. This mirrors the approach taken by BMW, which allows customers to unlock various features through the ConnectedDrive Store.

Volkswagen ID. Vizzion concept

In effect, VW is turning its cars into software-based products, enabling it to generate revenue through data-based methods. The company will lower prices for its vehicles and offer attractive usage packages; in return, it will generate additional income through the car’s usage, either via charging and energy services, for software functions or for autonomous driving features.

“In the future, the individual configuration of the vehicle will no longer be determined by the hardware at the time of purchase. Instead, customers will be able to add functions on demand at any time via the digital ecosystem in the car,” Brandstätter said.

The Project Trinity will be preceded by another sedan, a production version of the ID. Vizzion concept from 2018. That car is expected to arrive sometime next year and will spawn a wagon version based on the ID. Space Vizzion concept. Like the rest of the ID. range, it will be based on the modular MEB platform.