When the modern electrification of cars started a decade ago, the first series-produced models were based on modified conventional cars and platforms. Then, we saw an introduction of the first dedicated battery-electric platforms and a gradual expansion of them.
At the current stage, manufacturers appear to be switching to a few BEV platforms, each, to cover all vehicle sizes/types (just see the recently announced Stellantis' approach). However, the race will not end there (actually it will never end) and the next stage will be a single platform for basically all the models (aside from high-end cars, we guess) to reduce the costs.
At least, that's the direction we can see in the case of the Volkswagen Group, which will not only move away from its conventional MQB, MSB and MLB platforms (for ICEs, some PHEVs and older BEVs), but also from its new Modular Electric Drive Toolkit (MEB) and Premium Platform Electric (PPE) platforms.
The future, as early as 2026, is a new, next-generation mechatronics platform called Scalable Systems Platform (SSP). It will be the final unified architecture for the whole product portfolio and more than 40 million BEVs.
"The SSP (Scalable Systems Platform) as Volkswagen Group’s next generation mechatronics platform will significantly reduce complexity over time. As the successor of MQB, MSB, MLB, as well as MEB and PPE, it will extend the consolidation from three ICE-platforms to two BEV-platforms, to finally one unified architecture for the whole product portfolio.
From 2026 onwards, the Group plans to start the production of pure electric vehicles on the SSP. This next generation will be all-electric, fully digital and highly scalable. Over its lifetime, more than 40 million vehicles are projected on this basis."
As we understand, the SSP will exist in several versions to address different dimensions, weight, performance and applications.
One of the images shows SSP with numbers - SSP n, SSP 3, SSP 2 and SSP 1:
Volkswagen Group announced an €800 million ($945 million) investment in a new Research & Development facility in Wolfsburg to develop the core of the SSP platform and its modules.
In the second part of this decade, we will see not only Volkswagen Group's BEVs based on SSP, but probably also BEVs from other manufacturers, as the platform will be open to other manufacturers.
Not only that, it appears to us that the SSP is closely related to the unified cell concept - one type of battery cell format for almost all cars (there might be still some exceptions like Porsche). The chemistry of the cells will vary depending on available technology and the particular application.
"In order to reach its goal, Volkswagen Group is advancing battery competence and reducing complexity. To that extent, it is introducing one unified battery cell format with up to 50% cost reduction and up to 80% use cases by 2030."
In the end, this major simplification is expected to bring much-needed cost reduction to make electric cars affordable and profitable.