The Volkswagen Group loves platform sharing, so much so it believes two electric vehicle architectures is one too many.
Overnight at its annual media conference, the German firm announced it will replace the existing mainstream MEB architecture and the upcoming high-end PPE platform with the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP).
The change will happen gradually, though, with the switchover not due to complete until around 2035.
SSP will be developed from MEB and PPE, and will serve as the basis for “models of all brands and segments”.
Herbert Diess, the Volkswagen Group’s CEO, told the media, “We believe the differentiation of platforms due to many different drivetrain concepts is no longer relevant because all the new platforms have a battery skateboard”.
As such, it “makes perfect sense” to switch to one architecture that can “easily accept different battery sizes and so on”.
The first vehicle based on SSP won’t launch until 2024 or 2025 when Audi’s Project Artemis is revealed.
By then Volkswagen plans to be the world’s largest producer of electric vehicles.
To ensure it has enough batteries to meet its needs, Volkswagen and its partners will build six battery factories across Europe by 2030.
Together these plants will be able to produce batteries with a total of 240 gigawatt hours of capacity per year.
These plants will produce batteries using “unified cell” technology that Volkswagen is working on. Set to go into production from 2023, Volkswagen claims these new cells will reduce battery costs by between 30 and 50 per cent.
Although it is investing €47 billion ($72 billion) in electric and hybrid development over the next five years, the automaker has refused to nominate a “fixed end date for combustion engine technology” because there are “regional differences in primary energy usage and regulatory conditions”.
The company has reiterated its commitment to having 27 EV models based on the MEB platform available by the end of 2022.
Models already unveiled or launched include the Volkswagen ID.3 hatch and ID.4 crossover, Skoda Enyaq iV, and Cupra el-Born.
The Volkswagen ID.5 – a coupe version of the ID.4 – and the larger ID.6 wagon are due to be unveiled this year, as is the Audi Q4 E-Tron.
The first vehicles to be based on PPE, which is being developed by Porsche and Audi, are scheduled to be revealed in 2022.
The next-generation Porsche Macan is thought to be one of the first cars using this premium architecture.