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The electric mobility explained...from A to Z - Part 2

16.5.2019
The electric mobility explained...from A to Z - Part 2

With the launch of the new Volkswagen ID.3, e-mobility is now reality. Here are some of the key terms to better understand this revolution.

M is for Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB)

All ID. models are based on the Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) system by Volkswagen. The MEB fully exploits the technical possibilities of e-mobility and guarantees long ranges, dynamic driving performances and a whole new level of digital networking. Design and interior space can be flexibly designed with the MEB, from compact cars to SUVs and buses – everything is possible. At the same time, the MEB creates the basis for making the electric car accessible to as many people as possible. By 2028, up to 15 million electric cars worldwide are to be based on the MEB, guaranteeing considerable economies of scale. Ultimately, Volkswagen wants to set a new industry standard with the new vehicle architecture.

M is for Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB)

N is for Newton meters (Nm)

Torque is an important quantity in engine construction, measured in Newton meters (Nm) and representing the force of the engine perpendicular to the distance formed by the lever arm. Since an electric motor does not require a manual gearbox, the maximum torque is reached at the start of acceleration. With an electric drivetrain, it is therefore possible to accelerate very quickly, especially at low speeds. The Volkswagen e-Golf1, for example, has a torque of 290 Nm from the very first revolution and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in just 9.6 seconds and from 0 to 60 km/h in just 4.2 seconds. The ID.R2 – the sporting forerunner of Volkswagen's ID. Family – achieved the best time, in the more than 100-year history of the renowned Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, last year

N is for Newton meters (Nm)

O is for Overall Reach

The overall reach indicates how many kilometres an electric vehicle can cover with a single full battery charge. It is regarded as an important indicator of the suitability of electric mobility for everyday use. Since 2017, the range has been measured according to the WLTP test standard, which is intended to reflect realistic driving behaviour better than the previous NEDC test method. The e-Golf1 has a range of 231 kilometers (according to WLTP). In contrast, the Volkswagen ID.32, which will be launched in 2020, can more than double its range. The ID. Family comes onto the market with powerful, scalable batteries that can be configured with different capacities for ranges between 330 and more than 550 kilometers. Every customer can therefore choose the range that best suits their own driving habits.

O is for Overall Reach

P is for Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV)

plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is a vehicle with a hybrid drive, i.e. two drivetrains. Today, these are mostly an electric motor and a combustion engine. Unlike the conventional hybrid car (HEV), the lithium-ion battery of a PHEV can be charged both via the combustion engine and externally via the power grid. The advantage of the PHEV is the increase in battery capacity and the associated ability to cover longer distances without local emissions. With sufficient capacity, short distances (about 60 to 80 kilometers) can be covered exclusively in electric mode, while the combustion engine is only used as a generator for recharging the batteries. The possibility of operating the combustion engine alone means that longer driving distances are possible even when the battery is empty.

P is for Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV)

Q is for Qualifications

The shift towards electromobility and digitisation requires new competencies and skills. Volkswagen has therefore launched a major further training offensive: at the Zwickau plant, where the first ID.32 models will be produced, all 8,000 employees will achieve additional qualifications. This ranges from information events to practical tests in the e-mobility training center. 1,500 Zwickau employees will acquire the so-called high-voltage driving licence. Similar measures are also planned at other MEB locations.

Q is for Qualifications

R is for Recuperation

Recuperation – also known as regenerative braking – is the recovery of the kinetic energy released during braking or thrust operation. In electric vehicles, this is usually done by switching the drive motor to generator operation and feeding the resulting current into the lithium-ion battery, into which it is stored for later use. For physical reasons, only parts of the braking energy can be recovered. E-vehicles such as the e-Golf1 have various recuperation modes with which drivers can determine the strength of the braking energy recovery themselves – from maximum deceleration (and recovery) to minimum deceleration with low energy recovery. In long-distance traffic, the recovery effect is lower than in urban and short-distance traffic because the number of braking operations are lower. The smoother the braking process, the higher the proportion of regenerated braking energy.

R is for Recuperation

S is for Solid-State Battery

The solid-state battery cell technology is regarded as the most promising approach to electromobility of the future. With a solid fuel battery, for example, the range of an e-Golf1 would increase from the currently 231 (WLTP) to approximately 750 kilometers. Compared to current batteries, this battery technology offers higher energy density, greater safety, better rapid charging capability and lower space requirements. With the same size of a current battery pack, the solid battery enables electrical ranges at the level of conventional drives. In 2019, Volkswagen established a joint venture with QuantumScape Corporation — a start-up of Stanford University – to advance the research, production and marketing of solid-state batteries.

S is for Solid-State Battery

T is for Tank-to-wheel (TTW)

The term Tank-to-Wheel (TTW) refers to a subrange in the energy chain of a vehicle that extends from the point at which energy is absorbed (charging point; fuel pump) to discharge (being on the move). TTW thus describes the use of fuel in the vehicle and emissions during driving, while the term Well-to-Tank (WTT) describes the subrange of fuel supply – from production of the energy source (petrol, diesel, electricity, natural gas) to fuel supply (transport to the charging point or fuel pump). On the other hand, in the era of e-mobility and decarbonization, a holistic approach is increasingly favoured which covers the entire energy consumption and all greenhouse gas emissions of a fuel caused by production, supply and use. The generic term that subsumes Tank-to-Wheel and Well-to-Tank is Well-to-Wheel (WTW).

T is for Tank-to-wheel (TTW)

V is for Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)

Concepts that use batteries of e-vehicles as intermediate storage and buffers for the entire power grid are called Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G). If necessary, energy from the electric vehicle fleets are fed back into the grid. Electromobility can thus help to strengthen the share of renewable energies in the electricity mix, for example by compensating for fluctuations in storage management for renewable energies. This requires bidirectional chargers to be able to feed electricity back into the grid. Conversion losses during the transformation from direct current (DC; battery) to alternating current (AC; grid) would also have to be minimised beforehand.

V is for Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)

W is for Wall box

wall box is a charging station for private households. Wall boxes can be used with a higher charging capacity (11-22 kW) with more convenience than conventional household sockets. At the market launch of the ID.31 at the beginning of 2020, Volkswagen is offering a charging station for home charging: the "Volks-Wall box". This wallbox will be available in three versions. The first is the low-cost 11 kW AC wallbox for battery-saving charging overnight, which takes five to eight hours to charge 100 percent of the battery. The comfort version also includes attractive payment modalities as well as a connectivity solution that can be used to download updates and current information to the vehicle. The third variant is a DC charging station with 22 kW and thus offering significantly shorter charging times. The battery of the ID.3 will be fully charged in three to four hours.

W is for Wall box

Z is for Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV)

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) is an electric car that runs completely CO2-free in Tank-to-Wheel mode. This requires a charging network that is completely powered by renewable energy. Zero emission vehicles are the prerequisite for a complete decarbonization of traffic, which also includes production.

Z is for Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV)

Consumption value

1Volkswagen e-Golf – power consumption (kWh/100 km): combined cycle 12.7; CO2 emissions (g/km): combined cycle 0. Efficiency class: A+.

2 This vehicle is not yet for sale

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