Thursday, 7 January 2016

VW’s MEB offers ‘breakthrough’ technology

No doubt in an attempt to take the US public’s eye off its woes with diesel car emissions and point the eye to the future, Volkswagen AG has launched its BUDD-e, an idea of motoring life in 2019 – one year ahead of Audi’s 2018 e-tron.

The BUDD-e (below) presented at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas is said to be the first Volkswagen to have the DNA of the new MEB or Modular Electric Drive Kit.

The MEB results in a drivetrain architecture that is specifically tailored to the use of compact electric motors and high-performance batteries.

The flat and space-saving battery with an energy content of 92.4 kWh is integrated into almost the entire vehicle floor of the BUDD-e. The battery system powers two electric motors which drive both axles.

The front electric motor produces 100 kW (200 Nm), while the rear motor produces 125 kW (290 Nm); resulting in a mechanical system power of 225 kW.

This results in a total range of up to 233 miles (USA/FTP 72) or 533 km (Europe/NEDC) when the battery is fully charged, “putting the BUDD-e on a level playing field with today's gasoline-powered cars”, according to VW.

The battery can be charged by plugging it into a power socket or by inductive charging. At a charging power of 150 kW (DC), the battery is 80 per cent charged after about 30 minutes.

The concept car's all-wheel-drive system gives the BUDD-e a top speed of 112 mph/180 km, and it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mile/h in just 6.9 s.

VW engineers claim the MEB results in entirely new package perspectives. For example, the heating and air conditioning unit has been completely integrated in the front end of the car.

This arrangement enlarges the space available in the front end of the car, “perfects the air quality (thanks to bigger and better filters) and at the same time results in excellent acoustics (due to a reduction in fan noise)”.

Of course, at the same time, any front end impact (other than the most minor) is likely to damage the whole unit making for a costly repair job for the owner.

VW claims that its MEB technologies “may, for the first time, become possible for the pure electrical of large series models to match that of today's gasoline-powered cars by the end of the decade. In parallel to this, the time it takes to charge the batteries should have been cut to about 15 minutes (80 per cent capacity) by then. This would mark the breakthrough of electric cars”.

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