Volkswagen will follow Tesla’s production methods to improve the manufacture of electric vehicles: Trinity project

Volkswagen has many plans for the future, but Trinity Project is the biggest and most ambitious of them all: the Germans are making the biggest investment in their entire history in order to position themselves as the world’s largest electric car manufacturer. The goal is to catch up with Tesla as quickly as possible, but not just in terms of units sold, but also in manufacturing time per unit, where Volkswagen is showing much better timing than the Austin team.

Many companies, including Volkswagen, have recognized Tesla’s superior power in certain key areas; one is the manufacturing time of their cars. While a Volkswagen ID.3 takes an average of 30 hours to build (for the whole process), a Tesla Model Y is completed in just 10 hours. The Trinity Project, with more than 2 billion euros in funding, aims to reduce this manufacturing time, trying to catch up with Tesla.

As Christian Vollmer – head of production at Volkswagen – told Reuters in an interview: “Our goal is clear: we want to set the standard with our production. If we can arrive at 10 o’clock, we will have accomplished something great”. On the other hand, the task will be expensive and clearly it will not be fast. Volkswagen has been working on improving processes and productivity in general, at a very reasonable 5% annual rate Despite this, ICE (internal combustion engine) models currently take between 14 and 18 hours to produce, depending on the model.

Tesla Model Y, courtesy of Tesla Inc.

After the arrival of Tesla’s Gigafactory in Berlin-Grunheide, the old German manufacturers stepped up their operations in an attempt to dominate the market, knowing that having Tesla around could end up tipping the balance in favor of the Austin brand. To achieve this, Volkswagen plans to directly copy Tesla’s model and production structure, including the use of large Giga press units and more intensive use of robots. According to the information, Wolfsburg will not be the factory receiving the Giga press, but rather the neighboring factory in Kassel; then in turn, he will transfer the parts to the main factory.

Tesla Model 3, courtesy of Tesla Inc.

The Trinity project does not only envisage the acceleration of manufacturing processes, as the objective is also the production of the new SSP platform, the development of autonomous driving technology, as well as a model currently known as the name of Volkswagen “Aero B”. With the development process starting from scratch, Volkswagen’s goal is to make this new super-electric sedan a world benchmark for its capabilities and technology: efficiency pushed to its limits, with a large battery capacity and record range.

All this will be complemented by in-car technology capable of dazzling the world, including Level 4 assistance systems with near-autonomous driving capability. The final launch of the product should take place in 2026 (a little too far in the future, in my opinion). That year, Volkswagen will have the necessary machinery and equipment to eventually recover the lost crown, after the arrival of new players such as Tesla and many others (Chinese brands included). The Germans know very well that they have the talent, the technology and the capital to carry out the strategy and move forward with the plans; it remains to be seen if they are finally able to pull it off, as Tesla with its Model Y, Model 3, Model X and S will surely have some new features – and models – to show off by then.

All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Nico Caballero is Cogency Power’s Vice President of Finance, which specializes in solar energy. He also has a degree in electric cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and enjoys researching Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers the latest Tesla and electric vehicle happenings at Torque News.