Volkswagen Group (VW) is to offer its MEB electric vehicle (EV) platform to other vehicle manufacturers.
The company states that the purpose of this move is to achieve a significant reduction in the cost of e-mobility through the widest possible deployment of its electric system and the associated economies of scale, enabling broad access to individual mobility to continue in the future. The group currently projects a first wave of around 15 million electric vehicles based on the MEB platform.
At the Geneva International Motor Show, the German carmaker announced that start-up company e.GO, which counts vehicle technology specialist ZF amongst its partners, is the first to take advantage of the offer. A dedicated vehicle project is already being planned by the company to develop its own EVs as a result.
Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen AG, commented: ‘Our Modular Transverse Platform [MQB] 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.’
Günther Schuh, CEO of e.GO Mobile AG, added: ‘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 aluminium spaceframes. And the MEB platform will make us faster, more robust and cost-efficient.’
2019 is promising to be a pivotal year in VW’s electric offensive, with the company starting to step up the pace of development of the technology. The carmaker is investing €44 billion in electrification, digitalisation, mobility services and autonomous driving through 2023, having brought forward its original deadlines for investment and development by two years. Around €30 billion is earmarked for e-mobility alone.
The MEB platform was on show across the company’s multiple brands at Geneva, with the core VW brand highlighting the versatility of the project in its small ID. Buggy concept. The underpinnings were also used in the Audi e-tron GT, Skoda Vision iV and SEAT Urban Car concepts, which the group predicts could all make roadgoing debuts in the next few years.
The news of the availability of the e-mobility platform could also be a boost to Ford. The US manufacturer is believed to be in talks to share electric and autonomous development with VW, following the announcement of a partnership in the commercial vehicle sector earlier this year. Ford is understood to be keen on using MEB in its own vehicles in order to save on development costs of electric vehicle technology. Conversely, VW is reported to be interested in investing in Ford’s autonomous technology start-up Argo for the same reasons.