Chinese automaker Xpeng will play a key role in the development of Volkswagen’s new electric cars. But the young manufacturer will not provide its most modern architecture to the German group. However, it would be a question of the technical possibility of an ultra-fast recharge, in 15 minutes.
The transition to electric is not a long calm river for Volkswagen. The major offensive initiated with the ID range does not necessarily give the expected results. Sales figures below the objectives that had been set even forced the manufacturer to slow down production rates. Its future is even at stake, according to the company’s boss.
Volkswagen changes its plans
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Faced with these lackluster results, Volkswagen is looking for solutions to regain momentum. In terms of style already, the staff would have decided to return to more classic things, judging that the current IDs have lost customers because of too original lines.
Next, on the technical level, a new platform – the SSP – should bring significant progress in several areas compared to the current MEB. It will be used by Volkswagen, but also by the other brands of the German group.
The problem is that the development of SSP (or Scalable Systems Platform) has fallen behind. In response, Audi had no choice but to forge new ties with its Chinese partner SAIC (MG’s parent company), to recover some of its technologies. In the same vein, Volkswagen (the brand) has entered into a partnership with Xpeng, another local firm.
Although they initially only concern the local market, these alliances have a strong symbolic dimension. In a way, they show that it is the Chinese automobile industry which is now flying to the aid of the big European brands. A situation that would have been completely unthinkable not so long ago.
Xpeng keeps its latest platform to itself
In the case of Volkswagen, the agreement with Xpeng will initially lead to the creation of two new electric sedans. According to Automotive News, which cites the words of Oliver Blume (boss of the Volkswagen group), the cars in question will use an Xpeng platform, but not necessarily the one expected. Rather than providing the Smart Electric Platform Architecturethat is to say its most modern platform, the Chinese manufacturer would provide its partner with an older technical base, the Edward of the P7 and the G9.
Admittedly, the performance of the platform Edward are far from being ridiculous: the 800-volt architecture makes it possible to recharge very quickly (from 10 to 80% in 15 minutes on a special version of the Xpeng G9 SUV), and the range is close to 600 km. But the fact that it is not Xpeng’s cutting-edge technology can be seen as a snub for the Volkswagen group. We can therefore wonder if the 15-minute recharge will be offered to Volkswagen or not.
Oliver Blume indicated that the cars resulting from this alliance would also use Volkswagen technologies, without however giving more details. New information should be communicated in the coming weeks.
This new agreement reinforces the credibility of Xpeng, a young brand founded in 2014. Its signature comes as the manufacturer begins its offensive slowly but surely on the Old Continent.
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