VW platform for China to be MEB-based

Volkswagen has confirmed the previously leaked plan to develop a platform for affordable electric cars in China and provided some further details. The new platform will be derived from the Group's modular electric drive matrix (MEB). And at a considerable pace, for VW.

Image: Volkswagen

The new, as yet unnamed platform is to be brought to market maturity in just 36 months, according to Volkswagen Group China. This is “around a third shorter than the Volkswagen Group’s previous platform development cycle”. The subsidiary Volkswagen China Technology Company (VCTC) in Hefei will already integrate technologies from local suppliers in the early development phase. Incidentally, the VCTC is located directly at VW and not at one of the joint ventures with FAW or SAIC. And the reduction in development time by around 30 percent was already mentioned when the VCTC was announced in April.

In order to achieve this speed and the high level of local supply, a 450,000 square meter supplier park is being built in Hefei for around 1,100 local companies and their hardware and software solutions. The aim is to gradually increase the localization rate to up to 100 percent. There are currently 1,200 specialists working at the VCTC in Hefei. By the end of next year, there should be around 3,000.

VW does not state in the press release when exactly the first models will be launched and how much they will cost. At the end of last week, Handelsblatt reported on four additional electric models with a price range of the equivalent of 18,000 to 22,000 euros, which are to be launched on the market from 2026. One of the sources for the report was VW China boss Ralf Brandstätter himself. And if you extrapolate the development time of 36 months that has now been announced, you do indeed end up with the end of 2026 – if VW already started work internally a few months ago, it could also be mid-2026. The German publication also did not reveal the segments in which the new models are to be positioned in its report.

“By closely linking our development team and our purchasing team and involving local suppliers and partners as early as possible in product development, we are continuously improving productivity and transforming ourselves,” says Han Hongming, Chief Technology Officer of Volkswagen Group (China). “We need to be faster and more agile. In addition, we use innovative technologies to speed up development, testing and production processes from a safety perspective. One thing is clear: we remain true to Volkswagen’s DNA and our commitment to quality and safety. No compromises.”

In the press release, VW cites some of the accelerated processes: For new electric vehicles, the so-called E-4 poster will be shortened from three months to one month. Previously, this involved road tests with prototypes to test the durability of certain components. A test bench test lasting just four weeks is now to be carried out at the VCTC to test the repeated charging and discharging of the battery in the vehicle with all systems – the article picture shows a Cupra Tavascan during the E-4 poster.

At the same time, synergy effects are also to be achieved with the joint venture companies and partners. These are SAIC-VW, FAW-VW- Volkswagen Anhui, Gotion High-Tech for the battery and Xpeng Motors for electrification. “We are developing Hefei into the centre of our ‘in China, for China’ strategy and a strong interface between all our joint venture companies and local partners. This boosts efficiency, increases the speed of development and optimises our cost structure,” said Bei Ruide, General Manager of the Volkswagen Group in China.


1 Comment

about „VW platform for China to be MEB-based“
29.11.2023 um 03:37
This sounds like the MEB-lite variation, that SEAT was supposed to develop & be built in Spain, has been shifted to the Chinese. In March 2021 VW announced the first vehicle was to start production in late 2025. So it seems the project has been delayed 6-12 months along with being moved to China. Given the difficulties VW has had with increasing margins I wonder if there will be any European production or if they will look at importing.

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