Volkswagen presents their dedicated platform for electric vehicles, MEB, at their ‘Gläserne Manufaktur’ in Dresden today. The launch is underway with the motto: “Electric For All”, meaning affordable electric cars, that are to turn VW into a volume EV manufacturer.
It has taken VW some time to digest the diesel-scandal and to jump onto the electric drivetrain. Yet things are rolling with the launch of their MEB architecture designed to underpin all kinds of electric Volkswagens starting next year. Moreover, the company confirmed the Roadmap E with bold numbers.
++ With the event in Dresden just underway, we will be updating this report regularly today. ++
In Dresden, all attention was on the technology that underpins a push for mass market and shift at Volkswagen. A series-ready MEB rolling chassis was on display next to a prototype of the Volks-Wallbox. The MEB platform represents Volkswagen’s structure specially designed for electric cars. The chassis holds a flat battery built into the floor, the electric drive, power electronics, high-voltage wiring and the charger. According to Volkswagen, the battery can be 80 percent charged in around 30 minutes via rapid charging systems. For home charging, Volkswagen is currently designing their own device dubbed the Volks-Wallbox. A prototype is on display in Dresden.
The basis for the battery is a completely new, significantly more powerful battery system, which was developed in-house. Thanks to its modular design and multi-cell format, it can be installed in both smaller and larger models.
Brand Board Member for E-Mobility Thomas Ulbrich then likened the MEB project “to the transition from the Beetle to the Golf.”
Ulbrich added: “Some 10 million vehicles across the Group will be based on this platform in the first wave alone.”
This is in line with the corporation’s Roadmap E strategy that lines up 50 electric cars to be launched by 2025 and is turn VW into a volume manufacturer of electric cars. Apart from the the new, more bullish undertone above, VW also set a new intermediate target.
Said Christian Senger, Head of the E-mobility Product Line: “By the end of 2022, four Group brands will be ramping up 27 MEB models worldwide, ranging from compact cars to the lifestyle Bulli.”
The first will be the I.D. that Volkswagen is proud to brand as an “electric car made in Germany”. The begin of production has been confirmed with the I.D. to roll off the lines starting late next year at the Volkswagen plant in Zwickau, Saxony, that will then become a pure EV plant. Dealers and customers may get their hand on the electric Volkswagen from Spring 2020.
Zwickau is not the only plant to be involved. Also the Volkswagen Group Components sites in Braunschweig, Salzgitter and Kassel will have a hand in the making of the I.D. model. In Braunschweig alone, VW is ramping up to to be able to build up to half a million battery systems per year in future. This factory already builds the batteries for the e-up!, the e-Golf and the Passat GTE plug-in hybrid. Overall, Volkswagen is investing €1.3 billion of a total €6 billion budgeted for e-mobility at these three sites.
With the MEB platform however, the I.D. will only be the start of a whole new family of electric cars as we reported from the I.D. launch in Berlin earlier this Summer.