The batteries for electric vehicles based on the MEB platform are produced by Volkswagen Group Components in Braunschweig (Germany) and use cutting-edge technology. They support rapid charging up to 125 kW and have a capacity spanning 45 to 77 kWh, for a range of up to 549 km in the WLTP.
What do the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4, which recently won the “2021 World Car of the Year” award, have in common with the ID.4 GTX? They all have cutting-edge technology on board, in the shape of the high-voltage battery system produced by Volkswagen Group Components in Braunschweig.
High performance, long range, excellent safety and rapid charging are features of the MEB platform’s batteries; the production of the battery systems has been extended to 500,000 units a year. “The battery is the technical heart of electric vehicles. It determines driving pleasure, costs, range and the charging experience. For this reason, it plays a key role in ensuring sustained customer satisfaction,” explains Thomas Schmall, Member of the Group Board of Management for Technology and CEO of Volkswagen Group Components.
Capacity and range
In terms of specifics, the Volkswagen ID.3 has a choice of battery size: 45 KWh, 58 kWh or 77 kWh, with WLTP ranges of 352, 426 and 549 km respectively. The ID.4 offers two battery sizes: 52 kWh and 77 kWh. The first enables a range of up to 346 km, and the second up to 522 km (in the WLTP). The ID.4 GTX, with dual-motor all-wheel drive, will be launched on European markets this summer with a 77 kWh battery, giving a range of up to 480 km (in the WLTP).
As for the drive motors, the available output for the ID.3 ranges from 107 to 150 kW (146 to 204 PS); the ID.4 comes with two output levels: 109 kW (148 PS, which is not available in Italy) or 125 kW (170 PS). The ID.4 GTX, on the other hand, can boast combined maximum output of 220 kW (299 PS).
How are the batteries in the ID. family made?
The batteries of the ID. models have a scalable design and are made up of aluminium profiles. They are divided into compartments, with each one holding a module comprising 24 lithium-ion cells with a flexible outer shell. The 45 kWh battery contains seven modules, the 52 kWh battery eight and the 58 kWh battery nine, located in ten compartments in each case. The 77 kWh battery is made up of twelve modules filling all twelve compartments available.
In terms of size, the largest battery system is 182 cm long, while the most compact version measures 142 cm. Both versions are 145 cm wide and 14 cm high, and weigh between approximately 320 kg and around 500 kg.
Safety comes first
Depending on the battery size, up to three controllers, which monitor the module voltage and temperature, are located in the longitudinal member of the housing. In cooperation with the central battery management controller, these compensate for deviations in the capacity of the individual cells. The main control unit and the connection box with its fuses are mounted at the rear of the battery system: in the event of a serious accident they instantly de-energise the system.
Thanks to their low centre of gravity and rear-wheel drive, safety and driving pleasure are guaranteed with the ID.3 and ID.4. The battery is mounted between the axles at the lowest point of the car, ensuring a weight distribution that is close to the ideal figure of 50:50.
A strong all-round frame protects the battery from damage in the event of a crash. This is closed off by an aluminium cover at the top, while the cooling plate and another strong aluminium cover are located underneath the cell compartment. The housing is bolted to the body, thereby contributing significantly to overall rigidity.
The batteries of the ID.3 and the ID.4 offer both AC and DC charging. In the first case, commonly used for home charging, charging capacity can reach up to 11 kW. In the second case, 45, 52 and 58 kWh batteries can be charged at up to 100 kW. The 77 kWh battery is capable of up to 125 kW. This means around 30 minutes of charging gives 320 km of driving (according to the WLTP).
The Braunschweig plant
The battery systems for the MEB platform are produced at the Volkswagen Group Components plant in Braunschweig, Germany, where they were also developed. Up to 500,000 MEB batteries a year can roll off the production line, which occupies an area equal to about nine football fields.
Volkswagen Group also produces battery systems in Foshan and Anting (China). In the future, they will be joined by Chattanooga (USA) and Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic). The battery cells for the ID.3 and ID.4 in Europe are produced using green power. This contributes to ensuring that the carbon footprint of each car produced is neutral.
Salzgitter Center of Excellence
Group-wide responsibility for research, development, pilot production, testing, procurement and quality assurance of battery cells is pooled at Volkswagen Group Components in the Center of Excellence in Salzgitter.
Here, various battery technologies are being developed, while preparations are underway for the Volkswagen Group to start its own battery cell production. Work is also being done on next-generation solid-state batteries in collaboration with partner QuantumScape.
Saltzgitter is also home to a pilot plant for the recovery of battery components. Volkswagen guarantees a minimum battery capacity of 70% for eight years or 160,000 km. At the end of its service life – or the service life of the electric vehicle – the battery can be reused under second-life schemes such as for flexible quick-charging stations, or can be recycled and used as a source of raw materials.
The ACCELERATE strategy
Batteries are an integral part of the Volkswagen ACCELERATE strategy. The brand will significantly increase its sales figures for all-electric vehicles by 2030, with the aim of reaching a share of 70 percent in Europe and 50 percent in the US and China. The long-term aim is to make the brand carbon neutral by 2050. “Between now and 2025, we will introduce a new electric vehicle every year. This year it is the sporty SUV Coupé ID.5; next year our new icon, the ID.BUZZ. In 2025, we will present a model below the ID.3, which will make electric mobility available to even more customers,” adds Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen Brand Managing Board Member for Technical Development.
Source: Volkswagen Newsroom