Volkswagen is literally laying bare its plans for millions of upcoming electric-powered cars and trucks. Called the MEB platform, this dedicated EV chassis will form the backbone of the German automaker's electrification effort. According to VW, approximately 10 million vehicles will be built on the MEB architecture and, according to one source, this represents a move that's as big as when VW shifted its primary focus from the original and long-serving Beetle in the late-1970s.
"We will make electric vehicles popular and get as many people as possible excited about electric cars," said Thomas Ulbrich, brand board member for E-mobility. "The MEB is one of the most important projects in the history of Volkswagen — a technological milestone, similar to the transition from the Beetle to the Golf."
Shown devoid of any bodywork at a media event held in Dresden, Germany, the MEB platform signals the beginning of what Volkswagen is calling its "Electric for All" campaign. The goal is to make electric cars more affordable, and more appealing thanks to greater range and quicker charging. According the VW, a vehicle using this platform can recharge up to 80-percent of its battery pack in as little as 30 minutes.
This platform will form the basis of the upcoming Volkswagen I.D. electric car, which is scheduled to go into production toward the end of next year. Stretching about the same size as a current Golf hatchback, VW has previously said the I.D. will undercut the Tesla Model 3 by roughly $8,000. If VW is talking about the $35,000 entry-level version of the Model 3 — still something of a unicorn in the automotive world as Tesla has built pricier versions first — that would put the VW's price well below $30,000.
Upcoming variations of the I.D. that will also ride on the MEB platform include the I.D. Crozz, a small crossover vehicle, along with the highly anticipated I.D. Buzz, a concept that previews the return of the beloved VW Microbus.
VW's electrification plans aren't somewhere down the road, in some distant future. The company confirmed it plans to build up to 150,000 electric vehicles in Germany by the end of 2020. In total, 10 million electric VW cars, vans, SUVs, and crossovers will be based on this new architecture.
And yes, don't worry, eventually fenders, doors, a roof and windows will all be included