Audi’s launched the fully electric e-tron last year and continues it’s electrification plans next year with 4 different electric platforms. The goal is to offer a different style of drive for different types of customers. The road to electrification is under way and Audi is aware that different people have different needs from their vehicles. The truth is that rural and urban drivers have different infrastructure and urban centres globally have different challenges for charging.
A look at the 4 different platforms
MLB Evo – The move towards electric
VW Group’s Modularer Langsbaukasten (“Modular Longitudinal Matrix”) platform was first introduced back in 2007. Its latest iteration, MLB Evo, is the basis for many of the Electric Vehicles in Audi’s line from the Audi A4 to the high end of the VW line.
The MLB Evo platform also serves as the basis for Audi’s first battery-electric vehicle, the E-Tron SUV. While not built specifically for EVs, it was flexible enough to eventually accommodate the E-Tron’s 95-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, giving the vehicle enough juice for an EPA-estimated 204 miles of range on a single charge.
But the MLB is a compromise and the basis for the old school traditional gas engines that Audi’s line has traditionally been made up of. It’s not suddenly going to disappear, but we are going to be seeing less and less of these as they phase in more of the following three platforms.
MEB – A Solid Move towards Electric
The first vehicle Audi intends to release on the MEB platform is the Q4 E-Tron, which we first saw at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. It’s slated to go into production in 2020, and it’s not far off design wise what we’re going to see when it’s launched.
This dedicated EV platform is engineered specifically designed to accommodate an electric battery. This means Audi is able to make much better use of interior space — the automaker promises that, despite having the physical footprint of the smaller Q3, the Q4 E-Tron’s interior space will be voluminous, closer to the larger Q5’s passenger capacity.
The flexibility of the MEB platform also means that the Q4 E-Tron is just the start. This platform will be able to support larger style of vehicles too.
J1 – All Sport
The Audi E-Tron GT and the Porsche Taycan are both based on the sporty J1 platform. This platform has many modifications for high performance. To keep the car as low to the ground as possible, the battery features two “foot garages”, which are depressions in the battery housing that lets rear-seat occupants sit closer to the ground.
The E-Tron GT probably won’t be the only Audi on the J1 platform. The J1 can offer several tiers of performance, which means we could very well see an electric successor to the R8.
PPE: The next generation
The PPE (Premium Platform Electric), is a joint development between both Audi and Porsche. The PPE platform will go on to underpin Audi’s future C- and D-segment luxury vehicles. The PPE is the most flexible of all the platforms as it can be stretched and modified to cover both low-floor (sedan) and high-floor (SUV) vehicles with varying wheelbases and track widths.
The photo for the video that Don and I made going into much more detail than appears in this article are essentially the four different categories of vehicle we’ll be seeing from Audi. So be sure to watch that for maximum insight.