VW shoots for 435-mile range on MEB platform, faster charging

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Investor days focusing on electric vehicles seem to have taken a larger place in the news cycle. Inside EVs noted that during UBS' Electric Car Day in Paris, Volkswagen gave a presentation including some changes coming to the MEB battery-electric platform. The main attraction is a quest to extend range out to 700 kilometers (435 miles) on a charge on the WLTP cycle. The automaker's current range king is the ID.5 Pro Performance, which is rated at 520 km (323 miles) on a charge using the largest available battery right now, an 82-kWh unit with 77 kWh usable. The German maker's range king in the U.S. is the rear-wheel drive ID.4 Pro S at 268 miles. An equivalent boost to that car's range would result in a 362-mile rating.

On the flip side of range, VW wants to lower the 0-to-62 miles per hour sprint from the present best time of 6.2 seconds, posted by the all-wheel drive, 295-horsepower ID.5 GTX, to 5.5 seconds. Connecting those two stats, the third major push is to increase maximum DC fast charging capacity from today's 150 kW to 200 kW.

VW didn't give away how it plans to achieve any of this, so it could entail comprehensive change to every aspect of the MEB powertrain, from larger batteries with a revised chemistry to more powerful motors. These are goals to be achieved sometime between now and 2026, when VW's next-generation SSP battery-electric platform arrives, so it's likely that changes coming for MEB will feed into the SSP.

Some suspect the production version of the Aero B due in 2023 could be the first to benefit from the revisions, and perhaps the long-wheelbase ID.Buzz coming to the U.S. next year. The Aero B was slated to get a new concept for debut at Auto Beijing this month, bringing a reported 435-mle WLTP range, but the show was canceled and VW hasn't made a peep about the car since. Facelifted versions of the ID.3 and ID.4 coming around 2024 should be in line for the upgraded performance as well.

There's plenty in the pipeline for MEB drivers before all this, though. At the end of last month, VW announced ID. Software 3.0 would add a suite of new features to the ID. lineup, and begin uploading to cars already on the road in Europe sometime in Q2. Over there, a new Travel Assist with Swarm Data adds functions like assisted lane changing, tailoring where in the lane keep assist feature places the vehicle between the lines, and using anonymous information from other ID. cars to learn about road changes and hazards. The Park Assist Plus with Memory can be taught up to five parking functions, the owner able to let the vehicle park itself at distances up to nearly 165 feet. The augmented reality display gets new information like state-of-charge displayed as a percentage, and models limited to a DC fast charging rate of 125 kW will get new management software to bump that to 135 kW.

It's not clear when U.S. drivers will receive the updates nor which ones will come here, but VW should have something to share after the European rollout.

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