VW sees the flexible MEB technology platform as key to its electrification strategy

VW sees the flexible MEB technology platform as key to its electrification strategy

The world premiere of Volkswagen's modular electric drive matrix (MEB) has taken place in Dresden. The brand says the newly developed technology platform will be the key to the "electric car for all" with 10m electric vehicle sales targeted.

VW plans to sell some 150,000 electric cars, including 100,000 ID models made in Germany, by 2020.

As part of the 'electric for all' campaign, VW says it will be putting attractive models at affordable prices on the road, 'paving the way for the breakthrough of electric vehicles'.

Production of the Volkswagen ID, the first series vehicle based on the MEB, will begin in Zwickau at the end of 2019.

Volkswagen says it is also seizing the initiative when it comes to charging infrastructure: a design prototype of the "Volks-Wallbox" is also being premiered in Dresden. The Wallbox is described as 'an affordable home system that makes charging the ID family easy and convenient'.

"The MEB is one of the most important projects in the history of Volkswagen – a technological milestone, similar to the transition from the Beetle to the Golf."

Brand Board Member for E-Mobility Thomas Ulbrich said: "We will make electric vehicles popular and get as many people as possible excited about electric cars. The MEB is one of the most important projects in the history of Volkswagen – a technological milestone, similar to the transition from the Beetle to the Golf."

Ulbrich also stressed the importance of the MEB for scale economies: "We are making optimal use of the possibilities the electric car has to offer and creating massive economies of scale at the same time. Some 10m vehicles across the group will be based on this platform in the first wave alone. The MEB is the economic and technological backbone of the electric car for all."

Christian Senger, Head of the E-mobility Product Line, said the MEB platform brings significant benefits for customers: "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."

VW says the MEB will make it possible to install larger batteries, for example. That alone significantly enhances the range. "The car holds the road really well thanks to the flat battery in the floorpan and the space inside is much more generous – we are making substantial headway with the sense of spaciousness," Senger says.

The MEB has from the outset been designed to be 100% electric. As Ulbrich put it: "Our Modular Transverse Toolkit already proved Volkswagen is one of the most successful platform developers in the auto industry. Now, we're transferring this know-how and this strategy to the electric age. By the end of 2022, four group brands will be ramping up 27 MEB models worldwide, ranging from compact cars to the lifestyle Bulli. That is something quite unique."

All members of the ID family are designed for fast charging. Using fast charging systems, the battery can be charged 80% in about 30 minutes thanks to a completely new, significantly more powerful battery system developed by Volkswagen Group Components, it is claimed. Senger continues: "The use of a new generation of high-performance batteries begins with the ID. models. Thanks to their modular design and the multi-cell format, these batteries can be installed in smaller or larger ID. models."

Most of the Volkswagen locations in Germany are involved in the development and production of the first MEB-based electric cars, including the Volkswagen Group Components sites in Braunschweig, Salzgitter and Kassel. The company is investing EUR1.3bn of a total EUR6bn budgeted for e-mobility at these three sites.

Wolfsburg

The ID was conceived and developed by the E-mobility Product Line and Research and Development units at the main plant in Wolfsburg. This is also where the pre-series model is currently being built in the pilot hall and will subsequently be put through its paces at the Ehra-Lessien proving grounds.

Zwickau and Dresden

Volkswagen will be building the series production models of the ID family in Saxony. EUR1.2bn is being invested in Zwickau to become 'the first pure-play MEB plant and the largest competence center for e-mobility in Europe'. The Gläserne Manufaktur began building the Volkswagen e-Golf back in April 2017. The plant is evolving into a "Centre of Future Mobility", VW says and customers and visitors can enjoy 'an interactive encounter with e-mobility and digitalization to discover more about the future of mobility'.

Braunschweig

The Braunschweig plant will manufacture the battery system, the heart of the ID - the factory already builds the batteries for the e-up! , the e-Golf and the Passat GTE  plug-in hybrid. Braunschweig is the battery and packaging specialist and has extensive know-how in power electronics, battery cooling systems and software management. The plant is currently being expanded so as to be able to build up to half a million battery systems per year in future.

Salzgitter

The plant starts pre-series production of rotors and stators for the MEB this year. The Battery Cell Center of Excellence (CoE) is amassing development and manufacturing competence in battery cells and battery module production, VW says. This currently includes a lab line to be followed by pilot production with a view to building up production know-how.

Kassel

The Kassel plant has been a competence centre for electric drives for many years. Production of the entirely new MEB drive developed by Group Components for the Volkswagen brand begins at the end of this year. The site is the lead plant for electric motors.

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