Friday, July 12, 2024

Volkswagen forms new dedicated division for autonomous cars and electric vehicles

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Dubbed “New Mobility”, the department will be in charge of current ID model vehicles and future EVs that will be based on the VW Group’s New SSP electric car architecture.

Automotive News Europe reports, this spin-off division will also take over the VW Trinity project. The project creates a new generation of flagship electric sedans that will be available in 2026 with level 4 autonomy which sits one level below Level 5, where the driver simply hops into the car, tells them where they want to go, and the car does the rest. Meanwhile, level 4 will allow the driver to drive hands-free in most situations.

VW’s new department will be led by Thomas Ulbrich, a 56-year-old Volkswagen veteran, who is currently the company’s head of development. Auto News also reports that Ulbrich gained a large fan base among Volkswagen executives after he recalled the ID.3 electric hatchback after detecting a software glitch.

Ulbrich’s appointment will also give him a seat on the supervisory board of Volkswagen’s software unit, Cariad, in the hope that he will improve relations between Cariad and VW’s development department, which will now be chaired by Kai Gruenitz. Gruentiz previously held an equivalent role in Volkswagen’s commercial vehicle division where one of his responsibilities was the electric minivan.

Ulbrich’s new career could be on for a bumpy ride, based on Cariad’s past performance. The division has been accused of inflating its budget and delaying the launch of key Audi, Bentley and Porsche models because the software was not ready.

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