The car industry is poised to capitalise on the packaging advantage of electric powertrains to deliver a revolution in interior space, according to Volkswagen’s head of technology, Franck Welsch.
At the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year VW unveiled the Budd-e, a concept car that sits on the MLB platform from which VW intends to develop a family of electric cars across its group brands. The platform is also critical to the 500km (310-mile), 15-minute charge family car that VW has pledged to launch by 2025, which will be no more expensive than an equivalent combustion engined Golf.
“MLB delivers lots of advantages, and obviously there are several around the size of the powertrain and the greatly reduced need for cooling,” said Welsh. “Clearly that opens potential for better proportions around the footprint - you can push the cabin further to the edges to give more room to occupants.
“But we are clear that we need attractive design, while making use of all the advantages the MLB offers. If you were to describe it as a Passat on the inside with the footprint of a Golf, that might lead you to the sort of advantage we hope to gain.”
Welsch sees getting the balance between increased interior space and good exterior looks as critical, however, saying that maximising the former could seriously impinge on the latter. “Yes, electrification offers an all-new way of looking at cars,” he said, “but we don’t want to lose customers - we have to balance these factors while pushing to show what we can do. Customers like good design, interior space, comfort, a car that is fun to drive and more - we cannot compromise in any single area.”