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It looks like Volkswagen is developing a brand new EV platform that can be used with fuel cells. It would be VW's third platform along with the MEB and PPE platforms.
In addition to MEB and PPE, Volkswagen is planning a third electric car kit that can also be equipped with a fuel cell. According to VW chief strategist Michael Jost, the new platform is to be used for all brands of the VW Group.
“The VW Group is developing a modular e-mobility platform for our cars from the B segment upwards that can be used across all brands,” Jost told media. “The scalability extends not only to the length or width of the cars but also to the application areas of volume, premium and luxury.
However, the time at which Jost gives insights into the platform plans with fuel cell option is surprising. Hardly any other group has committed itself to battery-electric vehicles like Volkswagen. At the IAA, VW boss Herbert Diess rejected the fuel cell. He was “very sure” that the hydrogen car would not be a suitable option for driving vehicles in the next ten years, Diess told journalists. This is not only due to the high CO2 load and its “very inefficient” manufacturing method but also to the fact that the technology required in the cars will remain “much more expensive” for the foreseeable future.
So why the fuel cell plans for the new platform with the abbreviation MPE? The answer lies in the time frame. This spoke of the coming ten years, and even chief strategist Jost does not anticipate any VW with fuel cells shortly: “In the long term, roughly estimated at the end of the next decade, hydrogen will also be considered as an energy carrier for electrically powered vehicles.
With the ID.3, the first model of the modular electrical construction kit (MEB) will soon be launched on the market. The technology is suitable for vehicles from the Polo to the Passat, Skoda, Seat and Audi will also build electric cars based on MEB or have them built at VW in Zwickau. The Premium Platform Electric (PPE) is currently being developed by Porsche and Audi and should be ready for series production in 2023. According to reports, the first model could then become the successor to the Porsche Macan. According to “Auto, Motor und Sport”, Audi is first planning a four-door coupé in the style of the A5 Sportback with PPE technology. But even larger vehicles are possible, whether luxury sedans or SUVs.
Jost’s remarks do not make clear exactly how the Modular Platform Electric (MPE) fits into the platform logic of the Wolfsburg company. After all, MEB and PPE development have cost or are still costing a lot of money. On the other hand, Audi has never wholly abandoned its fuel cell plans – and before they move on expensive and later only partially compatible individual solutions, the idea is to develop with internal cooperation for the Group. Jost also makes one thing clear: it has to pay into the Group’s return.