Volkswagen MEB details

For several reasons Volkswagen has been criticized by the electric vehicle community, including myself. Not only due to the shameful dieselgate, but also because the automaker has been leading the transition to electric cars only in the press release category, a lot of talk and very little done. Until recently VW was a synonym for vaporware…

However, I recognize the merit when I see it, and Volkswagen’s MEB platform has its merits. In my opinion it’s the best thing we will get for electric cars from European automakers in the short term.

In this article I’ll focus on just one component of the MEB platform…

Yes, you guessed it right, it’s the battery cells. Now let’s see the interesting stuff!

Components in Volkswagen MEB platform

Battery cells side by side for better heat dissipation, exactly as it should be. Moving on…

We already know that the Volkswagen ID.4 and its sibling Ĺ koda Enyaq iV will be available with three different battery capacities. The battery packs are made with modules and each module has 24 battery cells.

Battery cell

  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • Model: LGX E78
  • Voltage: 3,65 V
  • Capacity: 78 Ah
  • Weight: 1.073 g
  • Gravimetric energy density: 265 Wh/kg
  • Chemistry: NCM 712

Battery pack (low capacity)

  • Total capacity: 55 kWh
  • Usable capacity: 52 kWh (94 %)
  • Modules: 8
  • Cells: 192 (96s2p)
  • Total cell weight: 206 kg
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

As a side note, this exactly the same battery configuration we have in the new generation Renault ZOE.

Battery pack (medium capacity)

  • Total capacity: 62 kWh
  • Usable capacity: 58 kWh (94 %)
  • Modules: 9
  • Cells: 216 (108s2p)
  • Total cell weight: 232 kg
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

This battery pack has the highest voltage of the three. Great for DC fast charging.

Battery pack (high capacity)

  • Total capacity: 82 kWh
  • Usable capacity: 77 kWh (94 %)
  • Modules: 12
  • Cells: 288 (96s3p)
  • Total cell weight: 309 kg
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

This battery pack will be enough to give the Volkswagen ID.4 and Škoda Enyaq iV a WLTP range up to 500 km (311 miles).

Battery components in Volkswagen MEB platform

Starting with NCM 712 battery cells made by LG Chem in Poland is a wise decision. Not only LG Chem already has great battery cells available, it also has the biggest production capacity in Europe.

However, in the future MEB won’t rely on a single supplier for the battery cells. When SK Innovation starts producing its NCM 811 pouch cells in Hungary, it will also be a valid choice.

Further down the road, CATL and Samsung SDI might join the battery cell supplier list. Eventually, I would like to see a cobalt-free LFMP battery pack available in MEB.

Summing up…

Years ago Tesla showed us that flat skateboard platforms are the way forward. Now legacy automakers are slowly getting onboard.

A skateboard platform allows better weight distribution, thermal management and flexibility. It can be used with small, medium or big battery cells. Although Tesla had no choice but to use thousands of tiny cylindrical battery cells when it started producing electric cars, now automakers have an easier life. They can choose to use fewer and bigger prismatic or pouch battery cells with excellent energy density to assemble simpler battery packs.

Battery costs roadmap by Volkswagen

Anyway, Volkswagen’s MEB platform is great, nonetheless it can be improved. CTP (cell-to-pack) technology that Chinese battery cell makers recently introduced is the next logical step to make simpler, safer, cheaper and more energy-dense battery packs.

Thanks for the heads up Pajda!

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