Klaus Bischoff says bespoke EVs such as the ID 3 offer more benefits than cars with multiple powertrain options

Volkswagen design chief Klaus Bischoff believes the freedom offered by electric technology means it would have been “the wrong decision” to develop vehicles with multiple powertrains rather than bespoke EVs such as the firm’s forthcoming ID 3.

The Volkswagen Group has developed the MEB platform as a dedicated electric architecture, which will be used for a range of ID-branded electric Volkswagens that will sit alongside its existing combustion-engined models. Sibling firms Audi, Seat and Skoda will also offer dedicated EVs built on the MEB platform.

By contrast, several of the VW Group’s major rivals, including the PSA Group, BMW and Volvo, have developed platforms that enable cars to be offered with multiple powertrains. For example, the Peugeot 208 and Volvo XC40 will be offered with pure-combustion, hybrid and full-electric variants.

Asked why Volkswagen has chosen to develop a separate range of EVs, Bischoff said electric technology offered “a lifetime chance to create a new user experience and design expression”.

He added: “The new architecture that electric vehicles offer gives designers the chance to come up with an entirely new design approach. We’re aiming for develop something that gives customers big advantages: a small footprint, big interior and fully digital architecture.

“To keep [an electric car] in the traditional space would have been the wrong decision.

"There is more freedom [with a bespoke EV] because the car’s architecture volume and proportions are different. With the internal combustion engine out of the game, you can really move the proportions and bodystyles and you have a lot more flexibility, particularly in terms of interior design."

Despite the greater design freedom afforded to electric vehicles by the absence of a large combustion engine, Bischoff said car designers needed to be careful not to go too radical, so they don't alienate potential buyers who are still adjusting to electric cars.

“We are on this journey together,” he said. “If you go too far outside and go into a field of design that’s different but not balanced or stylistic, then you can lose customers. You need to go brave, but do it step by step."

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7 May 2020

where are you?. You won't be buying this ev, because...it runs on electricity, the OEM is VW and whatever else you can cobble together...true?.

7 May 2020

After owning an EV (early i3 BEV) I would be much less likely to buy an EV which was adapted from a combustion engine car - the compromises needed in terms of packaging are significant. Adapting existing cars is obviously better for car companies from a cost perspective but unless those cost savings made the vehicle cheaper for the customer there seems no benefit (and numerous disadvantages) for the customer.

Most of the top-selling EVs over the last few years have been cars built to be EVs (eg Leaf, Zoe, Teslas)

7 May 2020

Yep I think he's hit the nail on the head - why compromise design/packaging/weight opportunities by having a heavily compromised vehicle platform - and it's a bold step by VW as nobody knows what the production ramp up of electric vehicles will be which is why other manufacturers want to use a common platform so they can be more flexible between production of combustion engines/hybrid/electric vehicles.

7 May 2020

Will be interesting to see which strategy delivers financially in the longterm. VW have been rightly been piloried over over dieselgate but (for me) this kind of longterm thinking demonstrates why they have become one of worlds largest car makers. Fully committed to next gen advanced engineering, a dedicated EV/digital platform which will meet all future legislative emission requirements combined this with a pretty timid/generic design language. All aimed significant appeal to the mass market non-petrolhead type and future profits. I predict ever higher sales volumes and EV market dominance for VW in the next 5 years - sadly   

7 May 2020

“The new architecture that electric vehicles offer gives designers the chance to come up with an entirely new design approach. We’re aiming for develop something that gives customers big advantages: a small footprint, big interior and fully digital architecture”. If user experience and design expression is a key reason for a dedicated electric platform, why couldn't VW design the new Mk8 Golf to look like the ID3 then? After all, their proportions and overall structure are similar. And yet the Golf has been infused with traditional styling inside and out while the ID3 is more whacky, simply because it's electric. Powertrains do not necessarily dictate styling and its quite simple for any car company to design an electric car to look normal or a diesel/petrol/hybrid to look much more different. I think the reasons provided by VW in developing a new, and hugely expensive, dedicated MEB platform seem a little lame. Especially if its found interior space of the ID3 is barely any improvement over a Golf despite the supposed packaging advantages of pure electric cars. It's also interesting that the Audi e-tron shares it platform with petrol/diesel VW Group models and doesn't have a dedicated EV platform. 

7 May 2020

They are in transition, the Golf will be gone in a few years but plenty of diehards will buy them before then. The MEB will I assume have been designed to accomodate battery packs and electric motors only, rather different to an engine/gearbox/fuel tank. When there making millions of these in a few years timethe flexibility and cost savings related to this will pay dividends. Design and styling are significantly market driven - VW buyers are typically conservative liking evolution over revolution. Given the massive investment and volumes involved VW has to move its market with them, protect the existing while appealing to new. I don't think user experience or design will have been particularly relevant, there EV's will drive like Golf's - because the market loves them. The Mk8's digital achitecture/user interfaces will curtainly be embedded in ID, develepment being amortised across both, user experience, very similar. Very easy and profitable to add new, impressive and expensive option features to a fairly gullible market when much of it just depends on what software uploaded in production - VAG are probably the the worlds greatest exponents of this concept with all there brands using basically the same component sets esp the expensive bits like the MEB        

7 May 2020

Of course it is and always will be, it's a simple logic.   That's one reason why LEAF, BOLT, i3, Teslas, the I-Pace are so successful and the next ZOE will use the a new EV platform.  Who'd want a transmission tunnel running into rear accommodation, etc?

7 May 2020
Hi
Nissan Leaf is made on the same production line as the Juke.
Processes are very similar batteries / fuel tank , IC engine / EV drivetrain.
Are installed at the same stations

7 May 2020

Hi

LEAF is a dedicated BEV regardless of where it's made, the car as a whole was never designed to accept a ICE, if I see one I know it's battery powered

7 May 2020
Hi
Nissan Leaf is made on the same production line as the Juke.
Processes are very similar batteries / fuel tank , IC engine / EV drivetrain.
Are installed at the same stations

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