Volkswagen wants to take advantage of economies of scale to drive down the unit cost of its new MEB electric car platform by sharing it with other manufacturers. According to Wikipedia, “Economies of scale are the cost advantages that enterprises obtain due to their scale of operation, with cost per unit of output decreasing with increasing scale. In economics, ‘scale’ is synonymous with quantity.”
Its first manufacturing partner will be e.GO, the Aachen-based startup that plans to bring a $20,000 electric city car to market beginning in April. It is headed by Guenther Schuh, who formed the StreetScooter company that was later sold to Deutsche Post.
In a statement this week, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said, “Our Modular Transverse Toolkit proved we are platform experts. Over 100 million of our vehicles are based on that particular platform. With the MEB platform, we are now transferring this successful concept to the electric era and opening it to other car makers.
“The MEB is to establish itself as the standard for e-mobility. Based on the MEB, we will make individual mobility CO2-neutral, safe, comfortable and accessible to as many people as possible. Because the MEB even makes the cost-efficient production of emotional small-series vehicles like the ID. BUGGY possible. I am delighted that e.GO has become the first partner to use our electric platform as the basis for a jointly-defined vehicle project.”
Schuh adds, “We are extremely pleased the Volkswagen Group offered us this cooperation. We can contribute e.GO’s agile product development and our strength in building small series vehicles based on extruded aluminum space frames. And the MEB platform will make us faster, more robust and cost-efficient.” e.GO plans to have four models available to customers by 2021. At least one of them will be based on the MEB platform, apparently.
According to Automotive News Europe, VW brand chief Michael Jost said during an interview in January that Volkswagen was in advanced talks with other companies about making the MEB platform available to them. The aim is to achieve a significant reduction in the cost of e-mobility through the widest possible deployment of the MEB platform.
The attraction for other companies is that they will not need to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to develop their own electric vehicle platform. The sharing of technology is something that is becoming more common as a way of keeping keep the cost of developing electric and autonomous vehicles down. Volkswagen’s strategy makes perfect economic sense and will help move the electric car revolution forward faster. Everybody wins in this scenario.