What exactly is your responsibility in this project?
My team and I were, and are still, responsible for the ID.3’s high-voltage battery housing, the wheel arch liners and the underbody cladding. We fully covered the latter for the first time and have thus achieved an exceptional drag coefficient (Cd value). Our team was generally concerned with coordinating the three assemblies in order to optimally exploit what’s possible in terms of range, available space and driving dynamics. So what’s the best way to integrate the battery into the vehicle floor? How should the battery housing be designed – especially in case of an accident? We created a solid collision guard made from aluminium on the lowest level which is both lightweight and ideal for the ID.3’s drag. That’s something we’d never done before at Volkswagen. A crash frame also protects the aluminium battery housing positioned above it, which not only ensures optimum stability, but also drastically reduces weight and clearly distinguishes our approach from that of the competition, which still relies on steel solutions.
What pushed you the most as you were developing the ID. range?
Despite the complexity of the project, the team worked side by side from the very beginning, as it’s ultimately about creating a forward-looking electric vehicle by Volkswagen. Together, we soon came to realise that the compact battery integrated into the MEB vehicle floor forms the heart of the car. So, for the first time, we developed a car around the battery. This new way of thinking and approach to developing brand-new, innovative solutions continues to inspire me to this day.
At which point did you realise that a breakthrough in electric mobility for everyone is on the horizon?
There was no specific point for me. Every day that I worked on this project further strengthened my belief in e-mobility. Mere numbers that had only existed on a computer were transformed into a tangible and suddenly measurable product. I simply realised that there wasn’t any actual reason why e-mobility shouldn’t work, particularly in terms of price and range. If you tend to use the ID.3 in city traffic, the smaller battery is available for a lower purchase price. If you usually cover longer distances, you can purchase the larger battery for a range of up to 550 kilometres.
In detail, what do you think is the most fascinating technology in the new ID.3?
For me it’s all about the battery system as a whole – with its brand-new challenges and corresponding solutions. I think we’ve introduced an extraordinarily smart and fascinating battery system for the ID.3. The idea behind it: despite a deliberately less complex battery architecture – compared to today’s high-voltage batteries – we’ve developed a much more powerful battery system. The result is a highly variable product which can be quickly and easily integrated into all future ID. models with their very different performance levels.
When you look at the project as a whole, what was the biggest challenge you faced?
As a multinational company, we want to position the ID. range in all the different markets around the world. Striking the right chord there has always been an incentive and challenge alike. In China, the world’s largest customer for electric vehicles, we often experienced changing boundary conditions throughout the course of the project and always had to respond with a technical answer. There, as in other regions, powerful, sustainably produced and affordable batteries are the key to promoting a breakthrough in electric mobility.
What have you personally taken away from the project?
I had the feeling that, metaphorically speaking, the more the battery housing came together in 3D data and hardware, the more we came together as a team. There’s nothing we can’t do with this amazing team.