Get to know the MEB platform, the base of the ŠKODA ENYAQ <span>i</span>V

Get to know the MEB platform, the base of the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV

ENYAQ iV

The MEB modular platform designed for Volkswagen Group’s electric cars is a system of building blocks that involves a lot more than just batteries.

8. 10. 2020

Batteries are at the heart of electric cars. So it’s logical that they are also the biggest component of the MEB modular platform installed in electric cars made by Volkswagen Group, including the new ŠKODA ENYAQ iV SUV. The platform itself is composed of a whole series of other elements, though.

MEB is the equivalent of the MQB platform used by ŠKODA cars with combustion engines and partially electrified powertrains. But it has been specially developed for all-electric cars, so it’s very different from MQB. 

MEB vehicles do not have a gearbox, fuel tank or exhaust system.

We often describe automobile platforms as building blocks, but that is even more true for MEB than ever before. The various standardised components can be combined with considerable variability to create a car with almost any proportions and for any purpose.

“The modular platform for electric cars is an excellent basis for ŠKODA’s all-electric cars. It offers various combinations of battery capacity and electric motor power. MEB thus satisfies our customers’ individual requirements and can adapt in line with their car use habits. That allows us to develop other technically innovative ŠKODA iV cars in future,” says Christian Strube, ŠKODA board member responsible for Technical Development.

Christian StrubeChristian Strube
The member of the ŠKODA board in charge of Technical Development

Rear- or all-wheel drive and long ranges of up to 510 km in the WLTP cycle and fast-charging capacity of up to 50 kW.

These are the main building blocks of MEB:

Batteries

The module with the batteries is the biggest and heaviest part of the platform. It is made of a massive aluminium frame that houses the battery cell modules. The unit basically forms the car's floor and its attachment to the body (which remains monocoque) makes the car more structurally robust. The floor-mounted battery offers variability: the housing has two possible dimensions.

As many as twelve battery modules, each containing 24 cells, can be installed in the housing. That gives rise to a battery weighing roughly 493 kilograms and with a total capacity of 82 kWh, a net 77 kWh of which can be used to propel the car. A medium-sized battery weighs 376 kilograms and contains nine modules with a total capacity of 62 kWh (net capacity of 58 kWh). The smallest battery has eight basic modules, weighs 345 kilograms and offers a capacity of 55 kWh (52 kWh net). The design also features a cooling system, a battery management system and, of course, the necessary connectors.

Electronic controls and charging

Needless to say, the battery needs to be charged, which is why the MEB platform features a standardised technical solution for charging and the necessary performance management electronics, which control both charging and the subsequent transfer of power to the powertrain. The system supports charging with either alternating current or direct current.

Alternating current charging operates at 2.3 kW level (household socket, or Mode 2 cable with cable control electronics) and 7.2 kW and 11 kW (400 V socket, public charging station, wallbox, Mode 3 cable). Fast charging using direct current can operate at 50, 100 or even 125 kW. In that case, the charging cable (Mode 4) is always part of the charging station. Car designers can choose which charging levels will be supported, for example the ENYAQ iV supports 125 kW fast charging in its top-of-the-range 80 and 80x and RS versions.

Electric motors

MEB-based electric cars’ propulsion is primarily handled by an electric motor located on the rear axle. The electric motor is so compact that it can easily fit inside a normal sports bag and it weighs around 90 kilos. This electric motor’s maximum performance is 150 kW, with 132 and 109 kW versions also available. In all-wheel drive versions, another electric motor is located on the front axle to help increase system output to either 195 or 225 kW, which comes with the ENYAQ RS iV. The front motor is smaller and more compact, and the entire platform can operate on these two motors. Even so, the range of versions and combinations creates a diverse spectrum of powertrain options. Motors need cooling: here that is done with a standard radiator at the front of the car and a coolant circulation system running on an electric pump.

Transmission

The electric motors’ power output is not transferred directly to the wheels – it passes through a simple single-gear transmission. The reason for this is that the motor can run at up to 16,000 revolutions per minute, and this rate needs to be reduced for transmission to the wheels. The gear ratio is roughly 1:10 (in a model with a top speed of 160 km/h), achieved by means of two small cogs. There is no need for a reversing gear, though. The electric motor simply turns in the opposite direction than when driving forwards. The electric motor’s constant torque (up to 310 Nm) makes changing gear to optimise performance unnecessary, so all you need is one “speed”. As a result, the transmission is very compact and is part of the electric motor module.

Connectivity

Like in the MQB platform, the onboard connectivity and infotainment system forms part of the MEB design. The system is fully digital, so the dashboard features two displays: one with driving data in front of the driver and a large dashboard infotainment display. Connectivity to mobile networks is a standard feature, so MEB-based cars can make use of a number of online services and even offer the option of purchasing additional functions. One new feature of the MEB platform is a head-up display with augmented reality elements.

The modern infotainment system in the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV is based on the latest generation of the Modular Infotainment Matrix and offers numerous innovative functions backed by online support.

Assistance systems

Right from the start, the MEB platform was developed with the vision of supporting level 3 autonomous driving, in which the driver no longer has to pay full attention to driving on certain routes (on motorways, for example). That is not yet a reality, of course, and MEB-based cars will acquire these kinds of capabilities through gradual evolution, but it has been planned from the start that the automatic driving functions will be handled by three high-performance computers (ICAS). So today the powerful computing hardware handles the standard driver assistance systems and lots of new similar features.

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