Posted on 27 Nov 2023
Volkswagen Group said Friday it will launch an entry-level all-electric vehicle platform in China in 2026 to further explore new segments, such as intelligent and connected EVs, Kallanish reports.
The platform will be derived from the group’s existing MEB platform, but will be exclusive to the Chinese market. The carmaker expects it to improve profitability and competitiveness through 100% localised development. Its development cycle is expected to be a third shorter at 36 months than the group’s previous platform.
“As the group advances the development of electric vehicle platforms targeted at China’s entry-level market, we will undertake more important development work ‘in China, for China’,” emphasises Bai Ruide, VW Group’s managing director in charge of business in China. “To this end, we will give full play to Hefei's key role as the group’s technology centre.”
The city in Anhui Province will be an advanced production, R&D and innovation centre for Volkswagen (China) Technology Co and undertake key development tasks for the group. The plan is to integrate development departments and decision-making processes in Hefei to develop models for the Chinese market, the German carmaker says, naming the city “the Silicon Valley of China.”
Through its cooperation with Xpeng Motors, Volkswagen China seeks to expand to the mid-size car market, and broaden the product line-up to the entry-level market in the future. Additionally, the carmaker is undertaking close cooperation in R&D with joint venture companies SAIC Volkswagen, FAW-Volkswagen, Volkswagen Anhui, Guoxuan High-Tech (on batteries) to further optimise synergies. At the same time, its software division CARIAD is also working closely with partners such as Horizon (for autonomous driving), Shanghai Muchuan Industrial Design (user experience) and China Science and Technology Thunder (infotainment).
The carmaker is yet to reveal further specifics of the platform and vehicles it will be able to manufacture from 2026.
Currently, Volkswagen (China) Technology Co employs 1,200 expert talents in Hefei. The aim is for that to grow to over 3,000 employees by the end of next year. The teams will focus on rapid development, high-cost efficiency and stronger quality and safety standards.