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Audi looks East for next EV platform

SSP delays force Audi to consider EV platform deal with China’s IM Motors, says report

19 Jul 2023

A REPORT published by UK outlet Autocar this week says German premium manufacturer Audi is looking to share Chinese manufacturer IM Motors new EV platform, as development delays loom around parent company Volkswagen Group’s new SSP electric architecture.


IM Motors, an SAIC brand, is reportedly close to signing an agreement with Audi for the rights to use its electric vehicle platform – the same found underpinning the IM Motor L7 sedan and LS7 SUV (pictured).


The two-year-old platform is likely to form the basis of a number of electric Audi models and lends itself to both rear- and all-wheel drive applications (meaning both single- and dual-motor applications) with wheelbases ranging from 2690mm to 3100mm.


It is thought the platform could support Audi’s forthcoming ‘Sphere’ range of models, including production versions of the Activesphere, Grandsphere, Skysphere and Urbansphere concepts. Volkswagen Group’s existing MEB J1 and PPE structures have reportedly been deemed unsuitable for these models.


According to the Autocar report, sources within SAIC say the modular IM Motor electric vehicle platform also shares key elements of its structure with the Nebula platform used by the MG, Roewe and Rising brands. It is engineered to support batteries of up to 2023mm in length and both 400- and 800-volt electric drive architectures.


The news comes just a week after Volkswagen Group held an investor presentation in which it provided an update on plans for its highly modular Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), which was first announced by former VW Group CEO, Herbert Diess, in 2021.


At the time, Mr Diess said the SSP platform would make its debut in 2026 in a compact model code-named Trinity. However, current VW Group CEO, Oliver Blume, delayed the platform’s introduction pending a review on all major projects when he took over the role last year.


“(We must) review all projects and investments and determine whether they are viable,” said Mr Blume at the time.


During last week’s investor presentation, Volkswagen said the SSP platform is back on track for a 2026 introduction but did not detail in which vehicle it would premiere.


The SSP architecture is capable of supporting motor outputs of between 120kW and 1300kW (!), and will offer Level 4 autonomous driving technologies, and a battery pack that can be charged from 10 to 80 per cent in as little as 12 minutes.


According to Volkswagen Group, the SSP framework is around 30 per cent cheaper to produce than its current MEB platform, meaning it is highly suited to the production of mainstream BEV models.

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