Electric Cars

Volkswagen will let other companies use its MEB electric-car platform

The first partner will be Germany's e.Go Mobile.

VW says that MEB would be ideal for low-volume specialty vehicles.

Volkswagen

Volkswagen's plan to offer a wide range of electric cars -- one the company has affectionately called a rollout of "electric cars for millions, not millionaires" -- is all based around its new MEB modular EV chassis. At the Geneva Motor Show, VW announced it'll open things up and let other companies use MEB to make their own EVs, too.

The decision serves two purposes for Volkswagen. First, by selling more MEB chassis kits, it can amortize the cost of developing the new battery-electric technology. Second, it furthers the automaker's stated goal of encouraging electric mobility in the fight against emissions.

"The MEB is to establish itself as the standard for e-mobility. Based on the MEB, we will make individual mobility CO2-neutral, safe, comfortable and accessible to as many people as possible," Herbert Deiss, Volkswagen AG CEO, said in a statement.

The first such partner is Aachen, Germany-based e.Go Mobile, which will use MEB to make a new electric car. Neither company has said what the vehicle will be, but Volkswagen says that MEB is flexible enough that it can be used for small-volume, unconventional vehicles. Perhaps the best example of that is the I.D. Buggy concept shown at Geneva: Like the original Meyers Manx, VW hints the I.D. Buggy's body could easily be separated from its mechanical chassis. Best of all, VW may even build an electric buggy inspired by the concept.

Volkswagen says it expects a "first wave" of 15 million vehicles to be built on the MEB platform. That'll include the I.D. family models under the VW brand as well as potential models from other brands, like Seat, Skoda and Audi.