All the electric car news that fits, we print. That’s our motto here at CleanTechnica, and in keeping with that mandate, here are some big and not so big tidbits from the world of EVs today.
New Trinity Factory In Wolfsburg
Volkswagen has its MEB electric vehicle platform that is the basis of its ID series of electric cars. So far, it will be used for the ID.3 hatchback, the ID.4 and ID.5 SUV siblings, the 3-row ID.6 sold in China, and the ID. Buzz coming in 2023. A scaled down version of the MEB toolkit will also be used to build smaller urban electric cars that may be called the ID.2 and ID.1.
But Volkswagen knows it will need at least one other EV chassis for future electric models. As part of its Trinity project, it is planning a new family of electric vehicles to be built on a second generation platform known as SSP, which will be shared with other divisions of Volkswagen Group, like Porsche and Audi.
There has been a great deal of discussion lately from CEO Herbert Diess about Wolfsburg, which is home to VW’s largest car manufacturing facility. Diess has said at various times recently that parts of that factory need to be torn down and replaced with newer production facilities that are more efficient. He also has riled up the workers’ union by suggesting if the the company does not move fast enough to meet the challenges from Tesla and Chinese companies, up to 30,000 manufacturing jobs could be lost.
Now comes word that Volkswagen will build a completely new factory to build the cars it is planning for the Trinity program. Although a final, final, final decision is not expected until early next month, German news source Welt reports the new factory will be erected in a “green field” outside the fence line of the existing Wolfsburg factory and will be incorporated into the overall manufacturing operation in that city.
Trinity is expected to be fully operational in 2026. It is a completely redesigned vehicle system in which the most modern electric drivetrains, as well as largely self-programmed software, networking, and autonomous driving technologies from VW are to be used, according to the report.
Volkswagen Brand chief Ralf Brandstätter told the press, “The competitive pressure is increasing — not least on your own doorstep. We have to make Wolfsburg fit for the future now. The main plant on the Mittelland Canal will then be thoroughly modernized based on this model.” He went on to say the new factory should be capable of building new cars in as little as 10 hours, matching the expected production levels at Tesla’s new factory in Grünheide near Berlin.
The decision to build a new factory is not a rejection of the main plant in Wolfsburg, Brandstätter said. “Cars are still being built here with great success. In the next few years this will primarily be the Golf and Tiguan. And one thing is clear: the new factory will also belong to the Wolfsburg location.”
New Electric SUV From Subaru
Subaru has released details about its battery-electric Solterra SUV that is a virtual clone of the the Toyota BZ4X. The Solterra will be available as either a front-wheel drive model with a 150 kW (201 hp) AC synchronous electric motor version or a dual motor all-wheel drive version with two 80 kW (107 hp) motors. (Every car Subaru sells in North America comes with all-wheel drive.) Both versions come with a 71.4 kWh battery pack.
Subaru estimates the Solterra will have a range of 530 km (329 miles) based on the WLTC standard used in Japan. The all-wheel drive version will have 460 km (286 miles) of range. EPA range estimates are not yet available. The car is said to be capable of DC fast charging at up to 150 kW of power, according to The Verge. The Solterra is due in world markets in 2022. No prices have been announced by the company as of yet.
Is the Solterra just a badge-engineered version of the Toyota BZ4X? Yeah, it pretty much is, although Subaru claims its all-wheel drive system is superior to what other companies offer. Will you be able to tell the difference from the driver’s seat? Probably not.
Subarus are hugely popular in snow belt states and are practically the state car of Vermont. The primary good news about the Solterra is it may convince some current Subaru owners to try the electric car lifestyle, which is a good thing. The more the merrier when it comes to putting electric cars on the road.