Volkswagen Aims to Be the World's Biggest Producer of Electric Drivetrains, Production Begins in China
【Summary】The Volkswagen Group’s Chinese components factory in Tianjin has started production of the APP 310 drive units designed for the automakers “MEB” electric vehicle platform, which will be the foundation of millions of electric vehicles the automaker plans to produce over the next decade.
As the auto industry continues its push towards electrification, demand is rising for electric vehicle components that will replace conventional gas-powered engines and transmissions. These components include battery-powered motors and integrated drive units, which automaker Volkswagen announced its started production on for its electric vehicles sold in China.
The Volkswagen Group's Chinese components factory in Tianjin has started production of the APP 310 drive units designed for the automakers "MEB" electric vehicle platform, which represents an entirely new way of building cars at Volkswagen. The MEB platform will be the foundation for millions of electric vehicles the automaker plans to produce over the next decade.
While the battery cells for many new EVs are being supplied by just a handful of companies, including South Koren battery maker LG Chem and China's CATL, German automaker Volkswagen plans to manufacture EV powertrain components for all of its brands, including for its joint ventures in China, which is the world's biggest auto market.
"With the start of production on the APP 310 at our components site in Tianjin, we are accelerating the electric mobility movement not only in the regional market but also for the Group as a whole. Our presence in the key markets enables us to react flexibly and efficiently to the needs of our customers. In this way, Volkswagen Group Components is making a major contribution to the Group's electrification campaign," said Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components.
The electric motor and drive unit of the APP 310 are intergrated into a single housing (Photo: Volkswagen AG)
The APP 310 electric powertrain will be used in the ID.4 electric SUV and will be produced by two of VW's joint venture partners for vehicles built locally.
Chinese automaker FAW is building the upcoming VW ID.4 CROZZ and SAIC is building the ID.4 X. Volkswagen said that the drivetrains for future electric models for the China market will also be supplied by its factory in Tianjin.
In Europe, The Volkswagen Group Components facility in Kassel, Germany will produce the APP 310 units for current and future electric VW models for the European and North American markets.
Volkswagen said the factories Kassel and Tianjin are working closely together on the industrialization process for the APP 310 to reduce costs and streamline production.
Volkswagen's MEB EV platform consolidates all of the powertrain and electrical components into a skateboard-like architecture. In German, its called the "Modulare E-Antriebs-Baukasten," hence the acronym "MEB." Translated to English its name means "modular electric-drive toolkit."
The MEB platform and the APP 310 drivetrains are designed to be the basic building block for Volkswagen future electric vehicles. The EV platform can be easily adapted for many different sizes of electric vehicles and battery packs. It uses shared components to help lower costs and reduce complexity.
The MEB platform allows VW to configure its upcoming electric models with either rear wheel or all-wheel-drive, using one or two APP 310 electric powertrains for more optimal weight distribution and better handling.
"The MEB modular electric drive matrix is probably the most important project in Volkswagen's history," said Christian Senger, Head of Volkswagen Product Line e-Mobility in 2018 when it was unveiled.
VW's compact APP 310 electric drive unit replaces a standard internal combustion engine and transmission.
Just like with the MEB platform, Volkswagen's APP 310 drive unit will help support the company's transition to electric vehicles.
The entire drive unit weighs roughly 90 kg (198 lbs) and is compact enough to fit in a standard-sized duffle bag. The APP 310 features a permanent magnet synchronous electric motor with the drive and gearbox configured parallel to the vehicle's axle. Each unit has an output of up to 150 kW with a maximum torque of 310 Nm (229 ft-lb), which is reflected in the APP 310 name.
The automaker said the two factories can currently produce up to 880,000 electric drive units per year. By 2023, Vokswagen plans to increase production up to 1.4 million units. This would make Volkswagen Group Components one of the largest producers of electric drives in the world.
By 2025, VW plans to sell as many as 3 million fully-electric cars per year globally.
VW's first mass-produced electric vehicle for the U.S. market using the APP 310 drive unit is the ID.4 1st Edition SUV. It will be available in the first quarter of 2021 with a MSRP of $43,995. A less expensive version costing $39,995 will be available by mid 2021.
Consumer interest in VW's electric ID.4 SUV has been strong. The entire production run of the ID.4 1st Edition is already sold out.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
Qualcomm and its Industry Partners Demonstrate C-V2X Technology in Georgia That Ensures School Buses and Fire Trucks Never Get Stuck at Red Lights
Tesla's Battery Supplier CATL Unveils its New ‘Qilin’ Battery That Can Deliver 600+ Miles of Range to EVs
Shares of Volvo’s EV Brand Polestar to Begin Trading on the NASDAQ After Closing on its SPAC Deal With Gores Guggenheim
Ford Motor Co Selects its Plant in Spain to Build 'Breakthrough' EVs for the European Market on a Next-Gen Architecture
The Tesla Model Y and Model 3 Take the 1st and 2nd Place Spots in the Annual Cars.com ‘American-Made Index’
Toyota to Collaborate with Redwood Materials to Build a Closed Loop, EV Battery Recycling Ecosystem in the U.S.
EV Startup NIO to Launch a New Mass-Market Brand to Rival Tesla with an Annual Capacity of 500,000 Vehicles a Year
Tesla Raises Prices in the U.S. as Inflation Chips Away at its Profit Margins
- The New Lexus RZ 450e is Toyota’s Answer to the Tesla Model Y and Raises the Bar for Battery-Powered SUVs
- Lucid Group Reports its Q1 Earnings and Deliveries, the Company is Also Hiking Prices on June 1
- Honda is Developing Three New EV Platforms by 2030, Including One That Will Be Shared With GM, Executive Says
- Facing Rising Production Costs, Automakers Ford, GM, Stellantis and Toyota Urge Congress to Lift the Cap on the $7,500 EV Tax Credit
- Tesla Rival NIO Inc is Hiring Manufacturing Specialists for a U.S. EV Factory, Reports Say
- Siemens Invests $25 Million in Wireless Charging Company WiTricity to Develop Interoperable Standards for Cable-free EV Charging
- China’s Tesla Rival NIO Begins Deliveries of its New ET7 Flagship Electric Sedan
- Ford Motor Co to Recall 737,000 Vehicles, Including the New Bronco, for Oil Leaks, Trailer Brake Control Software
- Kia Confirms the All-Electric EV9 SUV is Coming in 2023
- China’s Geely Launches the First of 9 Low Earth Orbit Satellites That Will Help Guide its Autonomous Cars