VW Sells EV Platform to First Coachbuilder

That is, at once, a very old-fashioned and very futuristic headline and it’s all thanks to Volkswagen, which will sell Germany’s e.Go Mobile electric chassis for an upcoming vehicle.

e.Go Mobile is the first third-party manufacturer to buy the MEB platform to make a car of its own.

“We are extremely pleased the Volkswagen Group offered us this cooperation,” says Gunther Schuh, e.GO Mobile CEO. “We can contribute e.GO’s agile product development and our strength in building small-series vehicles based on extruded aluminum spaceframes. And the MEB platform will make us faster, more robust and cost-efficient.”

Volkswagen has already handed over the chassis to its sister-brands. Skoda, SEAT, and even Audi have come out with their own concepts based on the MEB platform.

With the I.D. BUGGY concept, however, VW was adamant that coachbuilders and smaller manufacturers could make their own vehicles based on the platform. e.GO Mobile is the first brand to have made good on that promise.

Unfortunately, what the vehicle will look like remains to be seen. Volkswagen will also be involved in the decision. 

Since the MEB platform is designed as a flat “skateboard,” it’s not unlike a body-on-frame car. That means that third-party manufacturers can pretty much just drop their own bodies on top of the chassis—though I’m sure they’d argue it’s not quite that simple.

The advantage to VW is that they can subsidize the cost of chassis development by being paid for the chassis by coachbuilders, while smaller manufacturers avoid the expense of designing a chassis.

The chassis should prove to be an upgrade for e.GO Mobile, whose city car, the e.GO Life, currently gets between 100 and 145 km of range per charge (62 to 90 miles). Unfortunately, e.GO’s designs appear to be a little more conventional and conservative than the I.D. BUGGY’s, so don’t expect that quite yet.

“The MEB [will] establish itself as the standard for e-mobility,” says Diess. “[It] will make individual mobility CO2-neutral, safe, comfortable and accessible to as many people as possible.”