VW’s ‘open’ electric platform wants to conquer the world
After dieselgate, the VW Group completely changed course. With its special electric car platform (MEB) it not only serves a lot of new electric cars inside the group, it also wants to conquer the world by offering it to other manufacturers.
VW hesitated between electrifying existing platforms or creating a whole new one for the electric transition. At the end of 2015, the top of the company chose the latter, hence the new totally dedicated electric platform MEB (Modularer ElektrifizierungsBaukasten) presented a while ago.
Bet your company
The investments the VW Group has made and will still make in this electrification strategy are huge, 30 billion euro in the next 5 years, 44 billion in total are already decided. Add to that the fines that VW has already paid (and is still paying) for dieselgate and you see that the VW bosses are playing ‘bet your company’.
The problem is they have no choice. To continue building cars like they were doing until now, VW would already have to pay 1,4 billion euro of CO2 fines (not reaching the limits) in 2021. This has been calculated by the British Consultancy Bureau, PA Consulting. The bureau insists that these fines will increase heavily when not changing course.
The new standard
VW, however, is looking even further. MEB must be the standard platform for all electric vehicles in the group, but Volkswagen is thinking of selling it to other manufacturers as well, so that it can eventually become the new standard all over the world.
In this light the recent collaboration agreements between VW and Ford have a whole new dimension. It could just be that MEB becomes the basis electric platform for a lot of new Fords too and Volkswagen is also actively looking for other potential partners in the industry.
In fact you could see the MEB platform as a huge sort of skateboard where upon other manufacturers can adapt things to their liking. With the same underpinnings produced in huge numbers, things get cheaper. So they can focus on things that are more important to the future customer: design, software…
Compared to a classic ICE vehicle, an electric vehicle is fairly simple and equally performing. Some people would call it ‘dull’. You can’t make as much money out of it in production because of this simplicity. So manufacturers will tend to concentrate on other things, where they still can make a difference.