Apollon secret project: Audi and VW want to strengthen cooperation

Audi boss Markus Duesmann

Audi boss Markus Duesmann

VW Pkw and Audi want to join forces to develop important vehicles of the future as part of the new Trinity e-car project. “We are already docked with Trinity,” said Audi boss Markus Duesmann in an interview with The confidante of VW CEO Herbert Diess continued: “We are working together on a sister model for Audi. There is a joint project house with Volkswagen and this is exactly the cooperation within the group that we need. “

The Audi offshoot from the Trinity complex runs internally under the name Apollon. In Greek and Roman mythology, Apollo is, among other things, the god of light, of healing, of moral purity and moderation. The close cooperation with the pure electric vehicles should also help to heal latent conflicts between the Wolfsburg-based volume brand VW Pkw and the Ingolstadt premium label Audi. Some of the often obstructive departmental egoisms still come from the time of the former VW boss Bernd Pischetsrieder and his counterpart at Audi, Martin Winterkorn.

Trinity (Latin trinitas – three number), on the other hand, stands for a state-of-the-art flat-panel electric platform and radically new production approaches as well as for autonomous driving (initially level 2+, later level 4). The series start of the VW flat-seat electric car should take place no later than 2026. The driver of the plan at VW Pkw is brand boss Ralf Brandstätter. His Audi colleague Duesmann – who is also a member of the VW board of directors – emphasized in the interview: “You need a central electronic computer architecture. And this technology for pure electric cars will be scaled across the entire product portfolio. “

The idea behind it was outlined by Alexander Hitzinger, head of VW’s IT pioneering unit Artemis, who took part in the interview: “E-architecture with a computer is the heart of the future car. That will then be the real vehicle platform. ”Hitzinger also emphasized:“ The computing and software platforms are therefore decisive. Both have to be developed iteratively. And not all over again for each model. Autonomous driving is also a technology that is progressing iteratively. ”In ancient mythology, Apollon and Artemis are twin siblings, sired by the father of gods Zeus and the goddess Leto.

The radical approach of the twelve-brand group VW allows Hitzinger to compare the term “Apollon”, which is only used at the working level and not publicly, with the enormous importance of the first Apollo 11 moon loading mission: The small step for VW cars and Audi is supposed to be a big leap forward for the mean entire group.

The highly confidential project “Flush Door Handle” (FDH), via, is an example of which new competitors VW Pkw and Audi will have to compete with much more strongly in the future than with established competitors like BMW and Mercedes-Benz Initiated could speak. FHD stands for fully retractable door handles – in China, by far the most important single market in the world, the vehicle types Nio eS8 and XPeng P7 as well as BYD (acronym for “Build Your Dreams”; editor’s note) Han and Tesla Model Y to offer. The VW Group wants to follow suit by 2024 with a uniform solution for all models from VW passenger cars, Audi and Škoda above the A segment. Electric extending and retracting door handles and a slimmed-down mechanical version are planned.

“The example of Tesla shows that a feature such as the flush door handle, which is increasingly sought after by customers around the world interested in modern design, is possible at a commercially reasonable cost,” says a VW manager. “And it shows that the cooperation with the suppliers of the technically complex system works well over the long term.” The manager continues: “If VW wants to offer a system like the one from Tesla as quickly as possible, there is no need to reinvent the wheel in China.”

This kind of cost hygiene – and the economies of scale that have always been particularly important at VW – is what the drivers and thinkers at VW Cars and Audi also have in mind for the Trinity / Apollon joint e-car project. “Depending on the vehicle class, the traction battery costs up to a third of the entire vehicle,” says Alexander Hitzinger, “so you have to go very deep.”

You can read the full interview with Markus Duesmann and Alexander Hitzinger on next week.


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