VW confirms that the MEB platform is open to outsiders and has already announced a first partnership with the EV startup e.Go Mobile from Aachen. Meanwhile, pictures of the ID. Buggy have made it onto the network after the debut night in Geneva.
In a press release, Volkswagen cites the iconic buggy as an example of how variable the MEB can be for small series of electric cars “that can be easily and cheaply implemented”.
Aachen-based e.GO Mobile AG is already planning “a dedicated vehicle project” with the MEB architecture and in conjunction with the much larger partner. “I am delighted that e.GO has become the first partner to use our electric platform as the basis for a jointly-defined vehicle project,” said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess about the cooperation. As “platform professionals”, the VW managers want to “establish the MEB as the standard for e-mobility”. So finally they are not taking things (too) slow anymore in Wolfsburg.
Prof. Dr Günther Schuh, CEO of e.GO Mobile AG, a spin-off of RWTH Aachen University, is pleased with the offer of cooperation: “We can contribute e.GO’s agile product development and our strength in building small-series vehicles based on extruded aluminium spaceframes”. The MEB platform will make us “even faster, more robust and more cost-effective”.
But also Volkswagen is looking into more fun applications of the MEB and is planning a small series of the ID. Buggy, which currently stars as a concept vehicle at the trade show in Geneva. First pictures have now been published:
The ID. Buggy comes with the MEB chassis and a 150 kW electric motor in the rear. The necessary energy for a range of up to 250 km, after WLTP, is provided by a 62 kWh battery. It is a “clear signal to small series manufacturers and start-ups” who could “build the emission-free Dune-Buggy of a new era,” says VW.
Volkswagen’s message is simply that the MEB can become the technical basis for many automobile manufacturers’ entry into electromobility. The body composite, which is made of mixed aluminium-steel-plastic construction, is self-supporting. And thanks to the modular structure, the upper body area can be detached from the MEB chassis, which should make many vehicle variants possible. The advantage for VW: higher quantities lead to economies of scale and lower costs. And every MEB vehicle would probably also contain a Volkswagen battery, which could also increase the purchase quantities of the emerging joint venture for cell production.
Of course, the opening of the MEB to external parties does not mean that another volume manufacturer will access the market and save its own platform development. But at a time when even the premium competitors BMW and Daimler are working together in central areas, even this can no longer be ruled out.
Reporting by Peter Schwierz, Geneva.