There has been a lot of confusion about Volkswagen’s Project Trinity. When Volkswagen said it was a flagship project, it led many to believe it would be an expensive car just like the Artemis for Audi. Flagship refers to the project, not to the car, as Ralf Brandstätter clarified himself. Now we know it will also premiere a new electric architecture, the SSP (Scalable Systems Platform).
The Volkswagen brand’s CEO said the Trinity will slot in between the VW ID.3 and the company’s future entry-level EV, just like the Polo sits between the up! and the Golf nowadays. Brandstätter said it would cost around €35,000 – a little more than $41,700 under the current exchange rate.
The executive seized the presentation of the Strategy Accelerate to confirm the Trinity will be presented in 2026. Regarding the SSP, the company defines it as “a high-performance all-electric drive toolkit for flat vehicles.” It is not clear what the company means by “flat.”
Our impression is that it refers to vehicles with low ground clearances, such as sedans, hatchbacks, and coupes. Volkswagen released the sketch that is the main image for this article and it seems Trinity will be a very aerodynamic sedan, focused on energy efficiency. Regardless of the current evidence, we asked Volkswagen about what that means and will tell you the answer when the company replies.
Trinity is not a randomly chosen name. It implies the car has three objectives. Volkswagen said they were the new architecture, autonomous driving, and a radically new production approach. Thanks to Strategy Accelerate, we now know what that means.
Volkswagen will take the lead in the group’s efforts to develop autonomous driving. The Trinity will start sales with Level 2 – something similar to Tesla’s Autopilot and FSD – and aims to deliver Level 4 further ahead. Level 4 is the first one in which we can properly talk about autonomous driving. All things below that are driving assistance systems and need driver intervention.
This is why the Trinity will not be a flagship car: it has to be affordable to allow Level 4 autonomy development to happen at a faster pace. Volkswagen plans to develop “a neural network across its fully networked vehicle fleet.” Although Tesla came up with that idea first, the German automaker intends to take that to a whole new scale.
The Trinity units “will continuously exchange data,” such as traffic conditions. That exchange would lead Volkswagen “to create a self-learning system with millions of vehicles that will benefit customers of all of the Group’s brands.”
Since we already know about SSP, what we have left to clarify is the “radically new production approach.” Volkswagen calls it “business model 2.0.” That means the software will determine the functions a car has, not hardware.
In other words, if you want more sophisticated climate control, you will just have to activate it. A premium sound system? Software. More airbags? You got the point. That has a direct connection with production improvements. Since all cars will have the same equipment, the assembly will be a lot less complex. That should also make cars more affordable.
If you read anywhere that the Trinity is a flagship, remember what you just learned here: the project is; the car could not be if it were to achieve all the ambitious goals it has.