These are basically skateboards consisting of wheels and a battery pack, and offer maximum design flexibility. They are expensive and time-consuming to develop, but once a manufacturer has a purpose-built EV platform, it's relatively straightforward and cheap to design new vehicles from it.
What is the future of electric-only platforms?
Purpose-built EV platforms are lower in material cost and allow better performance in range, acceleration, and interior space. They do, however, come with additional investments in new, standalone platforms leading to higher fixed-cost allocation – especially when produced in lower volumes.
An automaker building about 50,000 units over five years, on a dedicated platform, would need to save more than $4,000 per vehicle in direct materials cost to recoup the estimated $1bn in incremental fixed costs. Today’s mass-market EVs typically sell at volumes between 30,000 and 80,000 vehicles globally.
On the other hand, OEMs that choose to produce a BEV or PHEV on a modified ICE platform to limit capital investment and allow for flexible manufacturing will often have to sacrifice higher material costs driven by the overdesigned platform and face challenges in battery packaging, not only in the same capacity, potentially sacrificing range, but also in a less cost-efficient manner, making them less exciting to consumers.
Given that the rate of uptake of EVs is by no means certain, OEMs are hotly debating the choice of a pure EV platform versus a versatile platform that can house both EV and ICE powertrains.
This poses some interesting questions regarding the future of the electric car:
- Which electric car manufacturers prefer the ICE-based EV architecture?
- As the leader in the flexible modular EV platform what is VW’s MEB?
- Who are the early adopters of the dedicated modular and scalable EV platform?