VW commits to EV production
VW has reiterated its commitment to a new vehicle structure designed exclusively for electric vehicle production. The new Modular Electrification Toolkit (known as MEB) architecture is a scalable vehicle chassis design optimized for use only with electric vehicles.
The MEB vehicle platform is a thick, flat base, with wheels moved out to the corners of the vehicle. Battery packs are placed into the platform underneath the passengers to create a low center of gravity and more interior space. Electric motors may be placed at the front, rear, or at both ends of the vehicle to offer flexibility in drive options. VW says that most vehicles based on the MEB will be rear-wheel-drive, with all-wheel-drive available as an option.
With the increased battery capacity and more efficient battery designs, VW expects EVs based on the MEB architecture to offer all-electric driving range up to 350 miles. The MEB platform vehicles will support Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast Charging technology. VW also announced plans to offer a 240-Volt Level 2 "People's Wallbox" charger for home installation priced at about $300.
VW also stated that by 2025, the company expects 25% of its new vehicles to be all-electric, and to offer up to 50 variations of EVs and 30 plug-in hybrid models worldwide. The company is planning to produce electric vehicles in up to 16 factories in Europe, China, and the United States. VW has announced plans to convert its massive factory in Zwickau, Germany to MEB production starting in 2019, with planned capacity to produce 330,000 EVs per year.
The first U.S. sales of MEB platform vehicles are expected in 2020 with the launch of the I.D. Crozz compact crossover. There will be an earlier subcompact car release limited to Europe in 2019. The dramatic I.D. Buzz, a retro-lookalike to the iconic VW Microbus of the 1950s-1970s, is planned for a 2022 launch.