Volkswagen has been careful not to reveal too much about its Project Trinty, though it has definitely been clear about the major strides it will need to make to be able to become the global leader in the EV industry. It's now becoming more clear that those plans may include Tesla-like manufacturing processes, including potential mega-casting and ramped-up automation.
Prior to the recent news reported by Reuters and Teslarati, VW had already shared that it's planning a multitude of upcoming electric cars and SUVs, with the focal point of its transition coming by the way of "Project Trinity," which isn't expected until 2026. The automotive group assures that the project will bring notable innovations in range, charging speed, digitalization, and eventual Level 4 autonomous technology.
In press releases about Project Trinity, VW highlights the three main components of the project, which include a new electric platform with state-of-the-art software, a simplified overall supply structure, and sustainable and intelligently networked production practices.
Tesla remains the global leader among producers of electric cars, and the US EV brand has now opened a factory in Germany. It plans to open its new factory in Texas next week. While the company has been producing Model 3 and Model Y vehicles at a relatively new and innovative factory in China for some time now, the bulk of its vehicles came out of its main factory in Fremont for years, which is an older facility that Tesla acquired.
Elon Musk has promised that Tesla's new factories in Germany and Texas will be next-level, and from what has been revealed thus far, it would be hard to argue against that claim. However, until Tesla is successfully able to ramp up production at the new factories, questions will remain.
At any rate, amid Tesla's growth and innovation, Volkwagen is one of just a few companies with plans to top Tesla in the future. Ford and General Motors are also taking aim. While Volvo hasn't claimed it has plans to go to bat against Tesla, it was just recently revealed that the company may also be planning to use special diecasting machines to speed up electric vehicle production.
While VW is one of the world's most successful EV makers, it hasn't yet made notable innovations to speed up production. It is, however, already improving its production speed at a rate of about 5% per year, at least based on information from executives that was revealed by Reuters.
According to Teslarati, it takes Tesla some 10 hours to produce a Model Y at the new factory in Berlin. Meanwhile, a Volkwagen ID.3 takes about three times longer to manufacture. VW Group CEO Herbert Diess has pointed this out to company executives and employees in the recent past, going so far as to bring Elon Musk in on camera to talk to his team.
Volkswagen's upcoming Trinity electric car factory, which it plans to open in 2026, is expected to speed up the automaker's EV production process significantly. Reuters writes that the use of diecasting machines and an overall increase in factory automation will be integral to the success of the project. VW production chief Christian Vollmer told Reuters via Teslarati:
“Our goal is clear: we want to set the standard with our production. If we can get to ten hours, we have achieved something big.”
The story goes on to say that VW is already capable of producing some gas-powered models in 14 to 18 hours. However, quickly manufacturing EVs is a different story. At a 5% rate of improvement per year, it will take some time to get the ID.3's 30-hour build rate down to 10 hours, though Vollmer is confident that the Trinity factory's innovations will have a notably positive impact.