Volkswagen MEB details

Volkswagen MEB details
Modular electric drive matrix (MEB) by Volkswagen

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 Škoda 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!

 

 

More info:

https://www.volkswagen-newsroom.com/en/modular-electric-drive-matrix-meb-3677

https://www.volkswagen-newsroom.com/en/press-releases/in-brief-key-components-for-a-new-era-the-battery-system-5645

https://www.skoda-storyboard.com/en/innovation/a-glimpse-of-the-skoda-enyaq-iv-rear-wheel-drive-five-levels-of-performance/

https://www.idnes.cz/auto/zpravodajstvi/skoda-enyaq-iv-elektromobil-meb.A200505_144445_automoto_fdv

https://sprzedajemy.pl/akumulator-li-pol-3-7v-78000-mah-legnica-2-0010c9-nr60990190

https://www.restposten.de/p/lg-li-pol-akku–37-v—78000-mah-15759927.html

Pedro Lima

35
Leave a Reply

Michal Grabowski

Source for the NCM 712 cells?

Sorry Michał, no source, I’m just using logic.

Battery chemistries used by LG Chem:

comment image

At 265 Wh/kg the pouch battery cells have to be NCM 712, considering that LG Chem only produces NCM 811 in cylindrical form.

The NCM 622 battery cells from LG Chem are 238-245 Wh/kg.

LG Chem’s goal of introducing NCM 712 battery cells in 2020 was previously stated.

“For now its main product for EV batteries is NCM622 (nickel 60%, cobalt 20% manganese 20%), but the company is developing NCM 712, which it aims to start producing from 2020.”

https://www.electrical-energy-storage.events/fileadmin/EES-Global/Download_Material/ESJ23.ISSUU4.pdf

Michal Grabowski

Thank You for the answer. I’ve asked because LG Chem stated once, that they want to expand existing factory to manufacture “future-proof”, post-622 cells. I didn’t know the construction is over.

Freddy

On paper the MEB looks good – let’s see how the cars behave in real life conditions (with the clients). although if VW group wants to be rulers of EV’s, they should have made some sort of important innovation (imho)… basically they just copied what is being well made by others (skateboard, liquid cooling, etc…)… the direct cell to pack (without modules) could have been something to differentiate against others… Anyway, usually companies which initially innovate in the (mass production) car industry don’t really take much advantage of this as others quickly copy it if really good….some examples: – directional… Read more »

Pajda

Freddy, this is a good point but it is good to realize that MEB is the “lowcost” or maybe better “mass production” platform developed by VW. There are actually three others electric platforms developed by VW, where PPE (Premium Platform Electric) is also brand new and it is aimed to be high-tech platform. So your point about more innovations should be aimed here.

Freddy

Well said… Naturally a premium platform will be show the technological innovations… let us see besides the 800 V what else will showup from major manufacturers….

Marcel

Great article, thanks Pedro. I now have the ID4 on my short list for 2021/2022. It’s supposed to arrive in Canada in 2021, but who knows if that will actually happen, who knows if VW will get their factories in the US running on schedule. I’m not sure how stable the US is going to be over the next 2 years as they don’t look like they’re going to control the epidemic very well. Do you know if US built VW EVs will get the same battery cells? Or will they need LG Chem’s US factory to come online first?… Read more »

Thanks Marcel.

Don’t quote me on this, but I have the idea that initially Volkswagen will use LG Chem in Europe, SK Innovation in North America and CATL in Asia.

Regarding reliability, Japanese automakers are on top, Volkswagen is not great.

https://www.reliabilityindex.com/manufacturer

I think that fast charging rates for the ID.4 will be the same as for the ID.3:

Low battery capacity: 50 kW
Medium battery capacity: 100 kW
High battery capacity: 125 kW

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_ID.3

Tom Houlden

One thing to consider on general reliability reports like that is what PART is unreliable, since they’re nearly all ice with heavily-used friction brakes. There’s a lot less to go wrong with an EV. My eGolf-leasing friend (who might BUY another one) had a warranty failure of the 12V charging system that’s exclusive to the EV, & a just-off-warranty failure of the filler cap door that’s shared with the ice. VW EV warranty is currently only THREE YEARS in the US, so my eGolf neighbor got an extended warranty on the used one she bought. eGolf is definitely the nicest-driving,… Read more »

Marcel

Good point, thanks Tom. EVs should be more reliable, But I’m still a little worried with VW About things like filler cap doors and door handles and wipers etc. – my Leaf that I had for 2 years was great that way. I’m leaning away from the Leaf next time because of charging times on road trips, and the increasing prevalence of CCS higher speed chargers vs Chademo ones.

Marcel

Ok thanks. So it looks like the medium battery might be worth it if the extra cost isn’t too much.

carlos

Are you sure about the capacity for the smallest pack? I have always understood it’s 48 kWh net, rather than 52.

Check here: https://www.idnes.cz/auto/zpravodajstvi/skoda-enyaq-iv-elektromobil-meb.A200505_144445_automoto_fdv

It’s different for the smaller Volkswagen ID.3 where the smallest pack is 48 kWh (45 kWh usable).

carlos

Right…. I missed that you were talking about the ID4.. My bad.

Aigars Mahinovs

Any idea about actual pack weight? Not weight of just the cells that go into each pack.

Sorry, I couldn’t find that information anywhere.

Pajda

Škoda Auto only released a weight of single battery module which is 32 kg. The rumors says ca 350 kg for the whole smallest 55 kWh pack.

Pajda

And the pack will got standard Škoda Auto warranty which is 160 000 km or 8 years down to 70% of the nominal capacity.

350 kg for the 55 kWh would be disappointing, considering that the “same battery” in the Renault ZOE weighs 326 kg.

Pajda

I think it is not that bad if the guess is correct. It should be noted that Volkswagen might use a common battery box for all three batteries due to the cost reduction and so the battery box is logically oversized for the smallest pack. So we can speculate that the biggest battery will be ca 130 kg heavier (four additional modules per 32 kg each and some additional bussbars/wiring) and this gives ca 480 kg for the 82 kWh pack, which is ca 170 Wh/kg. For example Tesla Model 3 LR pack weights 457 kg with 166 Wh/kg based… Read more »

Neromanceres

Nice article and good information. I like the 108S configuration on the mid sized battery pack. Of note most manufacturers are not moving to a skateboard chassis. MEB is technically still unibody. It just looks like a skateboard from the powertrain layout images. Unibody will always be lighter than a skateboard. Personally I’m really interested in the 100Ah NCMA cells that GM will be using next year starting with the Hummer.

Li-S syndicate

Pedro The LGX E78 78Ah battery blades need to be charged and discharged at 0.3C for delivering their rated 78 Ah capacity and withstanding 2,000 cycles. They however tolerate a 0.5C charging rate, but in such case the 2,000 cycles specification doesn’t stand anymore.They however tolerate a 2.8C charging rate during max 10 second, like when recovering energy during braking. Now comes the problem. For selling massively a car must grab a 200 km range per 10 minutes recharging. Cars that don’t meet such criterion will remain considered as “auxiliary cars” or “local cars” instead of “plain normal cars”. Say… Read more »

Barry

I think your fears about charging rate and cell longevity are overblown. VW is a very conservative company and they do their homework with EV batteries. I have a 35.8 kWh e-Golf and keep a close eye on pack temperatures during DC fast charging and for a pack without any active thermal management, VW did a good job with NCM111 cell based battery pack that can charge at about 1.1C (I’ve rarely seen 40C temps in the pack). The internet is full of Nissan Leaf battery pack horror stories, but I have yet to see one about the e-Golf battery… Read more »

Li-S syndicate

Hi Barry, the LG Chem LGX E78 78Ah battery blades get described here : https://www.restposten.de/p/lg-li-pol-akku–37-v—78000-mah-15759927.html No doubt VW do their homework with EV batteries. Please look the VW ID.3 specs here : https://ev-database.org/car/1202/Volkswagen-ID3-Pro Battery capacity 62.0 kWh Fast charge Power (max) 100 kW DC Vehicle Consumption 16.6 kWh per km (EVDB Real) —> 20 minutes are required for grabbing the 33.2 kWh energy that’s allowing to drive 200 km. Consequently, for the average prospect, the VW ID.3 doesn’t correspond to a “plain normal car”. Let us be optimistic, ignoring the fact the chances that you find a fast charger on… Read more »

Lars

Hi Pedro

About a month ago you wrote the following about the ID.3 battery packs:

1. Standard range: 45 kWh (usable) and 330 km of WLTP range (LFMP from CATL in 2021)
2. Mid range: 58 kWh (usable) and 420 km of WLTP range (NCM 622 from LG Chem in 2020)
3. Long range: 77 kWh (usable) and 550 km of WLTP range (NCM 811 from CATL in 2021)

Did you get new information or what did change your mind from three different chemistries to only one?

Hi Lars.

While not official, the latest information I have is that initially Volkswagen will use LG Chem in Europe, SK Innovation in North America and CATL in Asia.

Which makes sense. LG Chem has the highest battery cell production capacity in Europe, CATL is leader in China and SK Innovation is making huge investments in the USA.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sk-innovation-electric/sk-innovation-to-start-building-second-ev-battery-plant-in-united-states-idUSKCN22B0IJ

However, this is only for the initial production, later on Volkswagen can change suppliers as it pleases. Not relying on a sole supplier seems to me a smart strategy.

Pajda

Hi Lars, The info of using LG Chem 78 Ah pouch cells and the cell and module count in all Škoda Enyaq (ID4) battery packs was officially announced by Škoda Auto last week. This press release was the idea of writing this excellent article. 🙂 I think that the cells used in ID3 was not already confirmed, but now we can be almost sure that they will use the same cell for all packs at least in EU as well. The only difference between ID3 and Enyaq(ID4) smallest pack will be that ID3 pack will use 7 modules instead of… Read more »

Lars

For me the three different battery chemistries made sense because the NMC 622 cells are widely used and the 58 kWh battery pack is the first to be delivered. Rumours have it that the small and the large battery pack versions will arrive later, maybe even next year, which would make sense since the cells are not widely available yet. If all three battery packs are made of the same cells there could be delivered at the same time. But if you have confirmation about the cells from Skoda then it makes sense that the VW BEV would use the… Read more »

Pajda

I think (my guess) that the schedule of relaeasing packs to the market is based on internal VW policy of new model releases, not technical issues. It was announced year ago that Škoda Enyaq will be released with the biggest pack first and other packs will follow. It should be available in Q1 2021 with starting production this autumn. I think that VW will use the same strategy for ID4. So basically they do not want to release smaller(cheaper) ID3 model with the same pack sooner than higher model, particularly when the biggest battery pack is identical for both vehicles.… Read more »

Foersom

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

For a normal height car, that will result in terrible low rear seats like Tesla S (28 cm sitting height) and Tesla 3 (31 cm). With full floor battery you should make car taller like CUV style to make rear seats with reasonable height (>35 cm).

HighVoltageGuy

Just to add a couple of things to the discussion. It’s interesting to note that on the ID3 Pro S (Long range version) the seating is limited to 4 (https://ev-database.org/car/1203/Volkswagen-ID3-Pro-S), while for the other versions 5 is allowed (https://ev-database.org/car/1202/Volkswagen-ID3-Pro https://ev-database.org/car/1127/Volkswagen-ID3-Pure). This could be due to 2 reasons: either the additional 2 modules displace more or less the same weight of the 5th passenger and they exceed the load limit of the axles, or that the additional modules lead to a different arrangement of the systems stealing the space for a proper central seat cushion in the rear. On the latter… Read more »

HighVoltageGuy

Actually the first image should be thiscomment image

Pajda

Very interesting, thanks for sharing HighVoltageGuy

Indeed, very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

I would be very happy to see CATL’s cobalt-free battery cells installed in MEB platform.

Foersom

Yes. It is not because space, it is likely because of large and heavy battery that reduce the available payload. VW has been proactive and declared that it is only for 4 persons. On the hand Tesla Y is the CUV with lowest available payload only 402 kg. An average US adult weigh 83.5 kg, so Tesla Y LR D can carry just 4 adults + limited luggage. However that has not stopped Tesla for claiming that it is a car for 7 adults. For comparison: Hyundai Kona EV 64 kWh has max payload: 485 kg; Jaguar I-Pace: 500 kg;… Read more »