VW Group opens EV platform to others
Volkswagen Group is opening its Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB for short) to other manufacturers. This will lower the cost of electric mobility and broaden the use of MEB, VW hopes. The Aachen-based company e.GO Mobile is the first external partner for VW's e-mobility platform.
Over recent years, VW Group has developed MEB as the basis for its own electric vehicles (EVs).
The manufacturer is currently projecting a first wave of some 15 million EVs of its own model range that will use the MEB (pictured ) as their platform. VW demonstrated the variability of the MEB by showing off the ID.BUGGY at the Geneva International Motor Show.
“Our Modular Transverse Toolkit (MQB) proved we are platform experts: over 100 million of our vehicles (80% of VW Group's combustion-engine car range, Ed.) were based on that platform,” says Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG. “We are now transferring that successful concept to the MEB. By opening it up to other carmakers, the MEB will establish itself as the standard for e-mobility. Based on the MEB, we will make individual mobility CO2-neutral, safe, comfortable and accessible to as many people as possible.”
Opening up the MEB to other manufacturers will create economies of scale that will lead to significant reductions in the cost of e-mobility. When that cost reduction is translated to the end consumer, the resulting price advantage of EVs over cars with internal combustion engines (ICEs) will provide the inflexion point in the trend from fossil fuels to renewable energy as the paradigm for mass mobility. Or so it is hoped.
The first external partner to use the MEB will be e.GO Mobile, a fast-expanding startup manufacturing electric vehicles. The company already has a dedicated project in the works based on the MEB. The aim is to market EVs that 'complement' VW's own offering.
Founded in 2015, e.GO Mobile has in the past developed cutting-edge EV products in collaboration with the research campus at RWTH Aachen. The company, which previously helped develop the popular StreetScooter delivery van now manufactured by a subsidiary of Deutsche Post, focuses on small-series, cost-effective EVs for short-haul traffic.
“The MEB platform will make us faster, more robust and cost-efficient,” says Prof. Dr. Günther Schuch, CEO of e.GO Mobile, which among other projects aims to market an electric shuttle in a joint venture with ZF Friedrichshafen.
VW is pumping huge sums of money in innovation: close to €44 billion through 2023 for electrification, digitisation, mobility services and autonomous driving. Of that total, €30 billion is earmarked for electrification alone – a lot more than any other manufacturer is spending on EVs. By 2025, EVs will account for around a quarter of VW Group's entire model portfolio.
And 2019 will be a crucial year for VW Group's electric offensive: in Geneva, the company showcased a wide range of EVs that will soon make their debut in the marketplace, including the Audi e-tron GT, the Skoda Vision iV, the SEAT Urban Car and the ID.Buggy. By the end of 2022, the Group aims to have launched 27 MEB-based EV models.
In January, VW Group mentioned that it was exploring the joint development of EVs with Ford. If and when such a joint venture takes place, it is likely to feature the MEB as the platform for the vehicle(s) in question.