Volkswagen is reverberating at Tesla with “Project Trinity”
Volkswagen just spiced up the new company with promising claims. Project Trinity will lead to a sedan with “long range, extremely short loading times and revolutionary production”. What all of this means is of course still fairly unclear. But it leaves room for a lot of speculation.
Let’s take another look at the (often flawed) crystal ball of the automotive industry. Right now, the ID4 is the only EV American you can buy from VW. With a full incline and a handy 125 kW charger, the battery of the electrified SUV is charged from 5 percent to 80 percent in around 40 minutes. That sounds pretty good on its own, but compare that to what you can get out of a Tesla supercharger and the VW loses.
The current Tesla Model S, when connected to a V3 charging station, can be charged with up to 250 kW. That means a Tesla can take in a lot more juice much faster than an ID4 right now. This is likely to change in the near future, not the distant 2026 mark VW set for Project Trinity. However, it’s safe to assume the new sedan, whatever Volkswagen calls it, will support something north of the 250 kW mark.
When it comes to range, 250 miles is the best you can get out of an ID4. The recently announced Tesla Model S Plaid offers more than 500 miles of range. A more equivalent Model Y crossover can travel up to 326 miles between charge stops. This is far more necessary than for the average commuter and is only fully used on longer journeys. The Model S, for example, has enough power to travel from Los Angeles to Vegas and back on one load.
If Project Trinity is getting really “high reach”, we expect a range number that starts with a “4”. Speaking of which, Volkswagen also said its upcoming sedan will support level 2+ autonomous driving at launch, but will be ready (from a hardware and software perspective) for level 4. While Tesla’s autopilot is industry-leading, it also doesn’t support Level 4 (yet) – Level 2 descent where drivers still need to remain vigilant while the car is in “closed” scenarios like driving on highways with acceleration, braking, and some Changing lanes is done.
We are still in the dark about the promise of “revolutionary production”. Could 3D printing find its way into production cars? Is Volkswagen talking about battery technology? It’s hard to be sure, but over time we’ll just learn more about what Project Trinity will bring.