The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is built on the same MEB platform as the other vehicles in the ID. family, but it uses battery cells manufactured by a different company. Those new cells are proving troublesome in the first ID. Buzz production cars to roll off the line in at the company’s commercial vehicles factory in Hanover, Germany. In fact, the concern is so great that Volkswagen has halted production while it tries to get a handle on the battery issue.
According to Electrive, some cell modules from the new supplier fall short of the target performance. As a result, the cars are experiencing voltage drops once placed into service. Those voltage fluctuations reduce the vehicles’ range and may also negatively impact the service life.
The company confirmed to local news source Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung (paywall) that they found deficiencies during quality checks by the supplier, but provided no further details. No other ID. branded cars are involved as they use batteries from different suppliers.
Since the start of production earlier this month, VW Commercial Vehicles has manufactured about 500 ID. Buzz vehicles (including two special Star Wars variants) but has not yet delivered any of them to customers. A spokesperson for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles confirmed to Electrive that only the ID. Buzz is affected. “It is a new battery cell from a different supplier that is currently only used in the ID.Buzz. Therefore, only the production in Hanover is affected, but not other locations.”
He added that the suppler is working diligently to resolve the issue and that the new cells are expected to be used in other MEB-based models in the future. The identity of the battery manufacturer involved has not been disclosed. The Hanover factory expects to produce up to 15,000 units of the ID.Buzz Pro and ID.Buzz Cargo this year. Once full production is reached, the ID. Buzz assembly line will be able to manufacture 130,000 vehicles per year.
The issue Volkswagen is having with its new battery supplier just goes to show how difficult it is to build automobiles that perform in real life the way they are designed to. Even though all new cars are rigorously tested often for years before being offered to the public, problems still arise that were not uncovered by those tests.
Recently, Björn Nyland was driving an ID.5 GTX that developed a battery problem. It was only able to provide 65 kW of power from its 82 kWh (77 kWh usable) battery pack. Volkswagen of Norway was able to confirm that one of the modules in the battery pack was defective.
The lesson is that battery operated cars are still new technology and problems can occur. Buyers should consider the manufacturer’s reputation for dealing with such problems as they arise when deciding which car to buy.
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