Volkswagen’s Board of Management recently held what it called an MEB Supplier Summit to discuss its new Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), a platform that will be used for the company’s next generation of EVs, with key suppliers.
“To date, more than 100 suppliers have already been nominated within the framework of our electric offensive,” said Board of Management Member Ralf Brandstätter. “A new type of cooperation for our partners and Volkswagen begins today – we are involving top suppliers in development work [on new EV models] considerably more intensively and at a significantly earlier stage.”
Volkswagen Group brands are to launch 32 models based on the new platform over the next 5 years. The company expects to produce over 100,000 vehicles built on the MEB platform in 2020.
Dr. Matthias Erb, Chief Engineering Officer for the North American Region, explained that the MEB’s EV-specific toolkit includes:
- A larger wheelbase with short overhangs
- Large wheel diameters
- Flat battery pack in the floorpan
- Rear-wheel and all-wheel drive using electric motors with different power ratings
- Support for different body shapes (top hats)
- More space in the back and a higher seating position
- Central computer and a domain architecture
- Trunk volume approximately equivalent to that of an ICE car
- Software features such as smart lighting and head-up displays with augmented reality
The MEB’s modular system will allow the incorporation of new battery solutions with higher energy densities as they become available. Currently, Volkswagen is using prismatic cells, but that could change, Dr. Erb said, adding that VW expects the next significant step in range to be in the 2023-2024 timeframe. In the longer term (around 2027), VW envisions solid-state batteries as a higher-range solution.
“Our preparations for entry to the new era of affordable e-mobility are well underway,” said Volkswagen brand CEO Dr. Herbert Diess. “We intend to work together to ensure that Europe is ahead in the global race to the lead in e-mobility. [The VW production facility at] Zwickau will therefore be developing into the largest European e-mobility center.”