That connectivity tech will also be vital for the likely use of the MEB Entry models on ride-sharing ‘mobility’ fleets, allowing users to hire them via a smartphone and enable the particular features they want.
The Volkswagen Group is in the process of introducing a unified battery cell design for the bulk of its future EV models, to help reduce production costs through greater economies of scale. But while the cells will be unified, the overall design will enable the use of differing battery cell materials.
The MEB Entry models will use lithium-iron-phosphate tech, which the Volkswagen Group estimates will be around 50% cheaper to make than current battery cells. Iron phosphate technology has limitations in terms of range and charging times, but Volkswagen Group bosses believe that is less of an issue given the typically fewer miles driven by entry-level city cars.
The MEB Entry platform is likely to allow for a number of battery sizes, ranging from 30kWh to 45kWh in size. That would mean ranges in the region of 120 to 180 miles. It is understood the £17,000 target price is for the base-spec models with the smallest battery, with higher-specification models likely to cost from around £21,500.
Achieving economies of scale in production will be key to meeting the £17,000 starting price of MEB Entry models. The Volkswagen Group is aiming to build all the MEB Entry models in Spain and has earmarked the Seat-Cupra factory in Martorell, near Barcelona. But that decision is contingent on securing support from the Spanish government to build a 40GWh battery plant close to the facility and develop the infrastructure to provide the required components. The Volkswagen Group is aiming to secure funding from Spain’s Strategic Project for Economic Recovery and Transformation.