Volkswagen Group currently has five different vehicle architectures in its stable, but the automotive giant is looking to slim their offerings down to using only two, and eventually just one electric platform moving forward. The announcement was made yesterday as part of Volkswagen’s New Auto product plan for the next 10 years, as the carmaker shifts towards electrification.
“We set ourselves a strategic target to become global market leader in electric vehicles – and we are well on track. Now we are setting new parameters,” said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess during the presentation. “Based on software, the next much more radical change is the transition towards much safer, smarter and finally autonomous cars. That means for us: Technology, speed and scale will matter more than today.”
Over the next decade, Volkswagen Group will slowly phase out internal combustion engine platforms like the MQB (VW Golf, Audi A3), MLB (Audi A5, Lamborghini Urus), and MSB (Porsche Taycan), moving all of its vehicles to the MEB and PPE architectures designed for electric cars.
Following that, the company will eventually consolidate everything to just one single platform called the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), which will rmake its debut in 2026 on a new fully-electric model, reported to be the successor to the Audi A8.
Audi CEO Markus Duesmann said: “Introducing the SSP means leveraging our strengths in platform management and building on our capabilities to maximize synergies across segments and brands. In the long run, our SSP will significantly reduce complexity in mechatronics.”
To run the new EV platforms, Volkswagen has also established a new software division called CARIAD, who will oversee the development of the software stack for all group cars.
Currently, the entity is working on three software platforms: E³ 1.1 will allow for over-the-air upgrades for the MEB product portfolio; E³ 1.2 (in 2023) will include a new unified infotainment system for Audi and Porsche vehicles; and in 2025, E³ 2.0 will include a unified operating system for all vehicles within the Volkswagen Group, alongside level 4 autonomous driving readiness.
VW’s streamlining efforts also include a unified battery cell design for all of its future cars, which is said to reduce costs by 50% over current levels. The batteries will be produced in six gigafactories across Europe, with a production capacity of 240 GWh by 2030.
The company will also be implementing a “closed loop” approach for its batteries, giving them a second life by reusing these spent batteries in other application, and/or recycling them to recuperate raw materials for use in production.
The group is also setting up charging locations across the board with partnerships from companies such as CAMS in China, Electrify America in the U.S., as well as BP, Iberdrola, and Enel in Europe, to ensure that drivers have access to quick convenient charging.
The last facet of its transitional product plan are new mobility solutions such as the MOIA robo-taxi service, scheduled to be launched in Europe by 2025.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CTO, Christian Senger said, “Together with ARGO AI, we are developing an industry leading self-driving system which will enable us to offer completely new mobility services and autonomous transport services. Volkswagen Group is aiming for a significant market share and additional revenue streams in this important future business.”