Volkswagen Reveals its MEB Platform for its New Line of Electric Vehicles

Volkswagen Reveals its MEB Platform for its New Line of Electric Vehicles

Author: Eric Walz   

Volkswagen premiered its new MEB (modular electrification kit) electric vehicle platform yesterday in Frankfurt. The platform will be the foundation for 27 new fully-electric models the automaker plans to build. Volkswagen plans to build 10 million cars using the modular architecture.

The new MEB platform represents a new way of making cars at Volkswagen. The new architecture consolidates all of the vehicle's electronic controls and reduces the number of microprocessors.

VW will build 27 models for four group brands based on the MEB platform starting with the Volkswagen ID model that will begin rolling off the assembly line at its plant in Zwickau, Germany, late next year.

"In the first wave alone, around 10 million VW group cars will be based on this platform," the company's head of electric mobility, Thomas Ulbrich, said in a presentation in Dresden.

VW is targeting to sell 3 million electric vehicles per year by 2025. In 2017, the VW Group, which produces vehicles under 12 brands, announced it would start a gradual transition from combustion engine vehicles to fully electric models. VW said every model sold will have a fully-electric option by 2030.

id buzz.jpg

The Volkswagen ID Buzz will be built on the new MEB platform

Christian Senger, Head of VW's E-mobility Product Line, explained, the MEB platform brings significant benefits for customers, including a lower price and a more spacious cabin and the ability to install larger batteries for extended range variants.

Since the platform is not designed to accommodate a tradition engine and transmission, the floor can be made flat. For example, The upcoming VW I.D. Crozz concept is the same size footprint of VW's Tiguan compact SUV, but can accommodate the more roomier interior package of the full size Atlas SUV. The weight of the battery pack mounted low in the vehicle floor also improves handling on the road.

"The car holds the road really well thanks to the flat battery in the floor pan and the space inside is much more generous – we are making substantial headway with the sense of spaciousness." said  Christian Senger, Head of the VW's E-mobility Line.

"The ID will be a milestone in technological development. It will be the first fully connected electric car with full everyday utility that millions of people will be able to afford."

After the ‘dieselgate' emissions upended the company in 2015, VW unveiled an ambitious plan to become a world leader in electrification and distance itself from its past mistakes. The company was fined billions for tampering with diesel software to order to pass strict U.S. emission rules. The company was forced to recall nearly 500,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S produced between 2009 and 2015.

The VW Group, along with German rivals Mercedes Benz and BMW, is looking to mass produce electric models as U.S. rival Tesla ramps up production of its Model 3 sedan, its first mass market electric car. VW's Audi brand announced yesterday its new electric e-tron SUV would be available at dealers early next year.

To support its push to introduce new electric models VW plans to invest $7 billion. A large portion of the funds will be used to upgrade German factories in Braunschweig, Salzgitter and Kassel.

The VW group includes the Skoda, SEAT, Audi and Porsche brands. The company reported record sales last year with 10.7 million vehicles sold.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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