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 Modular electric drive kit


When you have a specific topic in mind, it is always good to have a current case to fall back on. In this case, it is not even clear at this point whether the allegations and incidents can be limited to a precisely defined area.

It's about the allegations against VW of having failed in the construction of the Modularen E-Antrieb Baukastens (modular electric drive kit) because the ID.3 in connection with the large 77kW battery is only approved for four people and neither a glass roof nor a trailer hitch are allowed. We didn't exactly check the accusation that the driver's weight was also limited.

Actually, you can refute the allegations just by looking at the pictures published by VW. What do you see up there? Basically a front axle, a battery box and a rear axle.

If you look closely, you will see that there is already an option at the front to connect drive shafts to the wheel hubs. There are only reinforcements on the axles themselves, which are absolutely standard since the unsuccessful experiments on the Golf 1 with the omission of the front axle support.

These carriers also do not take up any loads. They go over spring struts at the front and separately at the rear via damper struts and springs into the installation placed over them. The battery box actually puts even more strain on it. There are attempts to integrate it into the absorption of loads, although this would be difficult with three different lengths depending on the battery volume for the ever same battery. With the smaller batteries, space remains free at the back with slightly modified wiring.

So let's make it clear: The 'MEB' does not in any way determine the load capacity of the respective vehicle. There is no chassis or frame of any kind. And although the two axles are part of the MEB, they do not support the body downwards because the articulation points of the springs, shock absorber struts and springs cannot be seen here. They must be found, in greater numbers, on the installation.

At the front, forces, for example from impacts on the wheels, are directed to a medium level, i.e. into the A-pillar at the level of the lower edge of the window, at the rear from the dampers in the area of the C-pillar at the same height and the springs further down, to reinforcements behind the wheel arches. So if the heavier ID.3 had problems, it would have to be reinforced there and not with the MEB.

But that is certainly not the case either. It is more likely that the spring rates do not fully suit the loads of this version and that they can therefore break through with, for example, three adults in the back seat, depending on the driving or road conditions. The danger of such a process should not be underestimated. Without warning, the suspension, which is based solely on the rubber elements, hardens to such an extent that the driver has the feeling of steering a completely different car and that may require a lot of action.

Adjusting suspension and damping, even within a model series, is a completely normal process. Why? Because of course you don't want the lightest version to have the same hard springs and dampers as the heaviest. That would also be a reason to be interested in this version of the ID.3. You would get a car with the greatest possible suspension comfort. The springs are certainly not too tight.

And why wasn't harder suspension/damping provided for the ID.3? With this car you have the feeling that the development time was simply too short. So in the time available and obviously running out too quickly, one focused on the most important things, namely a single version with two different battery capacities. And only the smaller one was pre-produced in quantities.

As a result, the larger one was also somewhat ignored and it was only realized too late that perhaps other springs and perhaps also dampers would have been necessary. As it probably happens often, it was already too late, because a manufacturer cannot simply change the chassis like some tuning companies can. This includes extensive testing and at least one release. One was no longer able to do that and now probably have to wait for the first facelift.

Otherwise, what is noticeable about the vehicle is that although there is a lot of criticism for the first edition, it refers to the software with almost unbelievable frequency. Here, capacities, and in this case we don't mean that of the body, have clearly gone towards hardware and primary importance, which could be the salvation of the slightly tarnished image of the ID.3, even at a reasonable cost, if updates 'Over The Air' will be possible soon.

No, you don't have to worry about the MEB. After all, it is now available in the ID.4 without any restrictions on the back seat. Want to bet that the basic structure of the MEB has been completely retained and only the springs and dampers have been adapted? This could show how quietly the restrictions on the large ID.3 can be removed, with a bit of luck for those who will already order it before the next facelift.

Tesla is currently showing the way. A battery with lithium and iron phosphate ('miracle battery') is already being installed in China, but it is said to be over 100 kg heavier. Now we don't know whether this also applies to the 77KWh version or just to the smaller models. In any case, the model with the largest battery and two motors already has less payload than the ID.3 discussed here.

This shows two things: firstly, that other manufacturers are more careless than VW when it comes to restrictions on the number of people, for example, and secondly, that a significantly safer battery can obviously be introduced into the current series. The structure has certainly not been reinforced for this, we don't know about the suspension or damping.

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