Volkswagen has taken a page out of Ford's book and established a new division within the brand to focus on electric vehicles and software development, two key pillars of the current transformation of the auto industry.
Volkswagen Group's volume brand this week announced the establishment of the New Mobility division to accelerate development of EVs and software. Ford made a similar move in March when it established the Model E division for EVs and software, alongside Ford Blue for internal-combustion cars, and Ford Pro for commercial customers and vehicles.
“With the newly created New Mobility division, we’re bundling the strategic action areas of electric mobility and software, thereby increasing our pace of innovation,” Thomas Schaefer, VW's CEO, said in a statement.
Thomas Ulbrich has been tasked with heading New Mobility. He's currently chief technology officer and head of EVs for VW, roles in which he oversaw the development of the ID.3 and ID.4 models.
At New Mobility, Ulbrich will oversee the development of additional VW vehicles based on VW Group's current MEB platform designed for high-sales-volume models, as well as VW vehicles based on the upcoming SSP platform, a highly modular platform that will eventually underpin the majority of VW Group EVs.
The first SSP-based model will be the much-hyped VW fastback code-named Project Trinity. The vehicle is due in 2026 and tipped to be a Tesla Model 3 rival.
Software, including self-driving technology, will also be a defining feature of the SSP platform. Look for over-the-air updates, functions on demand, vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications, and an in-house operating system to be known as VW.OS, most of which is being developed by VW Group's Cariad software division.
In addition to his new role as head of New Mobility, Ulbrich will also serve as a member on Cariad's board to strengthen cooperation. Cariad is responsible for the software development, and New Mobility the integration of the software in individual models.