TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan -- As Volkswagen works toward resolving its diesel emissions scandal, it is mobilizing “Strategy 2025,” which includes as many as three dedicated platforms for electric vehicles, more utility vehicles and several new budget vehicles.
That path was laid out at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars on Wednesday by Matthias Erb, VW Group of America’s chief engineering officer for North America.
Those three EV platforms would spawn as many as 30 electric vehicles for the brands in the Volkswagen group. Each platform, or toolkit as VW officials call them, would be modular and have flexible chassis that would have different sized wheelbases and tracks to suit individual brands, Erb said.
One such platform, called MEB (Modular Electric Toolkit) yielded a concept vehicle called BUDD-e, an electric van loaded with advanced electronics that debuted in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. VW brought the van here and Erb demonstrated some of the its features during his presentation.
BUDD-e, about the size of a Chrysler Pacifica, is sort of a rolling electronics laboratory that can sense its surroundings and allows the driver to control it with gestures instead of switches.
The van’s floor is flat and contains a lithium ion battery pack that can provide a driving range of up to 233 miles on a single charge. It has electric motors in the front and rear. Erb said the battery pack can be 80 percent charged in 30 minutes.
He said VW’s EVs will be built around the battery pack.
Acknowledging VW’s tough 11 months since the diesel emissions scandal broke, Erb said VW has to transform its business but not lose its heritage. “It is not so easy to change an organization. It’s an ongoing process,” he said. “You can’t switch from one day to another because you think it would be more interesting to work like a start-up.”
VW recently agreed to a broad U.S. settlement and German parent Volkswagen AG has set aside nearly $20 billion for total scandal-related cost. The automaker still faces criminal investigations, dozens of lawsuits, more buybacks and other regulatory hurdles.