VW Components Group Contributions to MEB
One of the characteristics of Volkswagen that makes it different from many OEMs is that there is a high level of vertical integration. While many companies depend on a network of suppliers to provide components, systems and other elements of a vehicle, Volkswagen makes many of these parts.
As it prepares to launch the first of its electric vehicle series of vehicles based on the MEB platform (modular electric drive matrix), the ID.3 (which is not destined for the U.S. market), the several of the company’s components manufacturing operations in Germany are transitioning some of their output for the electric vehicle.
Said Thomas Schmall, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group Components, “We are concentrating on modifying our plants to manufacture new products for electric vehicles. Certain plants are being specialized, and at the same time we are making use of the synergies through the manufacturing of components within the Group.”
Volkswagen is positioning several components plants for electric vehicle-related production. (Image: Volkswagen)
For example, in Kassel, where the company has been producing dual-clutch transmissions, it will also be responsible for the production of the electric drives for MEB vehicles, as well as frame and body parts.
The Salzgitter plant has been producing engines—gasoline, diesel and CNG. Its new role is two-fold: it will be manufacturing rotors and stators (as well as engines), and it will be the site of a Center of Excellence for battery production.
The Brunswick plant, which makes such things as front and rear axles, is where the battery system for the ID.3 will be produced. It has been making batteries since 2013, which are used in current products (e.g., the eGolf) and in Scania and MAN trucks.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.
The engineers at Munro & Associates have taken a perfectly sound BMW i3 and taken it apart. Completely apart. And they are impressed with what they’ve discovered about how the EV is engineered.
Ford has made an accomplishment that will never be bested, never even be tied.