VW 'Project Trinity' teases cars that unlock features on-demand

In the future, you might buy AWD or a sporty GTI mode on a per-mile basis.


Volkswagen claims it's "not afraid" of the threat posed by any Apple Car and released this shadowy teaser image that may represent why. The image is a teaser for Project Trinity, an electric sedan that CEO Ralf Brandstätter called "our software dream car."

Like any pie in the sky concept it of course is designed in anticipation of advanced self-driving capabilities, long range electric propulsion systems and fast charging battery tech, but that software bit is where it shows the plans in place. According to VW the plan is to start production on this car in 2026, as part of a vehicle lineup with fewer variants and where everything is standardized.

What that means is that instead of building multiple versions of the same car with varying capabilities, they'll build one version with everything included, but only unlockable "on demand" — and likely for a fee. Tesla has already shown something like this with driver assist tech that's available to unlock after the car is purchased, while BMW has tried selling features with a subscription model and is looking at expanding. As Autoblog points out, VW's version could extend to features like AWD, or unlocking GTI-level aero and handling packages on a short-term or even per-mile basis.

According to the CEO, "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."