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Volkswagen Opens Up its ‘MEB' Electric Vehicle Platform to Other Companies

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【Summary】Volkswagen is aware of the challenges facing companies working on EVs and is willing to lend a hand by sharing some of its electric vehicle technology. The automaker announced it will open its MEB EV platform to third parties, beginning with e.GO Mobile AG, an EV startup based in Aachen, Germany.

FutureCar Staff    Mar 04, 2019 1:21 PM PT
Volkswagen Opens Up its ‘MEB' Electric Vehicle Platform to Other Companies
VW CEO Dr. Herbert Diess (right.), and Prof. Günther Schuh, CEO e.GO Mobile AG, in the ID. BUGGY. (Volkswagen AG)

A new crop of EV startups has been entering the market following the lead of Tesla. However, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk can attest, starting a new car company and mass-producing electric cars is a monumental challenge, Volkswagen is aware of the challenges facing companies working on EVs and is willing to lend a hand by sharing some of its electric vehicle technology.

The automaker announced it will share its new electric vehicle platform with third parties, beginning with e.GO Mobile AG, an EV startup based in Aachen, Germany. e.GO Mobile AG is a pioneer in e-mobility and was founded by Prof. Dr. Günther Schuh in 2015. The company is working on a variety of cost-effective electric vehicles for short-haul traffic. The company builds tiny EVs, shuttles and a electric bike/ go-kart.

The purpose is to achieve a significant reduction in the cost of e-mobility through economies of scale, lowering EV production costs with volume production.

"We are extremely pleased the Volkswagen Group offered us this cooperation. We can contribute e.GO's agile product development and our strength in building small-series vehicles based on extruded aluminum space frames. And the MEB platform will make us faster, more robust and cost-efficient." said Schuh.

In German, VW's new EV platform is called the "Modulare E-Antriebs-Baukasten," which provides the source of its acronym "MEB". Translated, its name means "modular electric-drive toolkit". 

Volkswagen's MEB platform represents an entirely new way of building cars at Volkswagen. The new architecture consolidates all of the vehicle's electronic controls, batteries, and electric powertrain components into a single, modular chassis, which and reduces complexity and the number of microprocessors.

The Volkswagen Group is currently plans to build up to 15 million pure electric vehicles on the MEB platform. e.Go Mobile will become the world's first outside partner to use the electric platform to launch their own line of electric vehicles. A dedicated vehicle project is already being planned.

Volkswagen is showing off the possibilities and versatility of the EV platform at the upcoming Geneva Auto Show this week, with a quirky recreational concept vehicle called the ID Buggy. The vehicle resembles the beach dune buggies first made popular in the 1960's in California, only this one is zero-emissions and purely electric.

190304_pm_vw_e_go.jpg

Volkswagen's MEB platform includes just about everything except the vehicle's body

Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen said in a statement, "Our Modular Transverse Toolkit proved we are platform experts. Over 100 million of our vehicles are based on that particular platform. With the MEB platform, we are now transferring this successful concept to the electric era and opening it to other carmakers. The MEB is to 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. Because the MEB even makes the cost-efficient production of emotional small-series vehicles like the ID. BUGGY possible. 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."

At the Geneva Motor Show, the Volkswagen Group will be showcasing several electric vehicles, including the Audi e-tron GT, ŠKODA Vision iV and SEAT Urban Car. The ID. BUGGY concept, might also make its debut with an outside company in the next few years.

Volkswagen's MEB platform will help the German automaker achieve its goal of building millions of electric vehicles. The automaker is investing up to $50 billion in electrification, digitalization, mobility services and autonomous driving through 2023. Approximately $35 billion is earmarked for e-mobility development alone.

Volkswagen expects that purely electric vehicles will account for approximately one quarter of all vehicles produced by 2025, and the MEB platform will help make this possible.

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