Author: French Fries
For movie fans, 2023 is lucky. After 3 years, Marvel is returning to the big screen in China, and the latest release of “Ant-Man 3” will also kick-off a new magical phase of the Marvel Universe.
For car enthusiasts who love watching movies, 2023 is interesting. While the whole industry tends to make bigger cars, there is a guy who is full of energy and wants to go “small” – in “Ant-Man 3,” the Volkswagen ID.4 becomes the protagonist’s ride and is always ready to be shrunk into a “Ant-Car” to travel through the quantum world.
Even more interesting is that the collaboration between ID.4 and the superhero movie extends beyond cameo appearances.
Thinking about it, the development of Volkswagen in the Chinese market coincides with Scott’s trajectory from an ordinary person to Ant-Man.
Technology Changes Fate
Let’s go back in time to the first “Ant-Man” 8 years ago.
At the beginning of the story, Scott’s life was miserable. According to today’s blind date standards, he was unemployed, divorced, and even worse, he couldn’t take his own child. After finally finding a job as an ice cream shop waiter, he was fired by the boss because of his inglorious past.
Fortunately, the extreme situation in the movie was just a test to lead a better life. When Scott was searching for his lost tooth on the ground, his benefactor, Hank Pym, appeared.
As a former employee of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, Pym mastered a technology called “Pym Particles” which could shrink human bodies. Under the guidance of Pym, Scott embarked on the road to becoming a superhero with this “big and small” black technology.
Now let’s go back in time to the beginning of the 21st century. Volkswagen was experiencing “painful happiness” in the Chinese market.One the one hand, as one of the earliest international auto brands entering China for joint venture and localization, a slogan of “With the Santana, the world is yours” helped Volkswagen soar from the time of China’s reform and opening up to the millennium. The first-mover advantage brought Volkswagen an enormous amount of orders in the rapidly changing Chinese market.
On the other hand, with a wide and abundant customer base and stable and reliable product quality, Volkswagen models were selected by taxi companies all over China. However, especially for something as large as a car, personalization has always occupied an important position in the minds of higher-end consumers, and taxis running all over the place invisibly constrained Volkswagen’s upward growth.
Any ambitious brand is not satisfied with the status quo. How to break the bottleneck? Like Ant-Man, Volkswagen chose the technology route.
In 2007, Volkswagen opened up a new road with the technology combination of “TSI + DSG”, and stamped the engine technology term of “turbocharging” into the minds of Chinese consumers.
Coincidentally, the high efficiency and strong features of turbocharged engines just fit the rhythm of energy-saving and emission-reducing policies. Volkswagen once again seized the first-mover advantage and started a turbo era. At the same time, the image of “advancer of advanced technology” changed the stereotyped concept that Chinese had of the Volkswagen brand for decades, and firmly equated”Volkswagen” and “German technology” in people’s minds.
Light at the end of the tunnel
The so-called bottleneck is that after breaking through it, a period of high-speed growth can always be ushered in.
This is also true for Ant-Man. After entering a new role in life, Scott, after undergoing a series of strengthening exercises designed by Dr. Pym, narrowly defeated the main villain. With the letter of justice in his hand, Scott also smoothly completed the transformation from an ordinary loser to a superhero.For Volkswagen, it is no different. As it enters the era of new energy, Volkswagen is one of the typical representatives of the world-famous traditional car companies that have most quickly transformed to electrification and invested most heavily in pure electric technology. The MEB platform that brings a new era of pure electricity to the Volkswagen brand’s ID. family of vehicles is impressive even to this day.
Looking at this picture, many people will marvel at the prowess of Volkswagen’s modular design, but what surprises me the most is their insistence on the essence of the automobile. With the addition of large batteries, the weight of electric vehicles has increased significantly compared to gasoline vehicles, which has also increased the pressure on the chassis suspension. Fortunately, while retaining the traditional chassis tuning skills, Volkswagen has also incorporated pure electric technology, and the driving experience of ID. series has been well received. It can be said that in the entire automotive industry, Volkswagen is one of the few car companies who truly understand electric vehicle suspension tuning.
However, just like a story without contradiction is not a good story, a movie without ups and downs is also difficult to be considered a good movie.
At the beginning of “Ant-Man and The Wasp”, due to Scott’s violation of the Sokovia Accords, this great superhero was unfortunately placed under house arrest. Even when playing with his daughter on a slide, he accidentally stepped a foot out of the yard and caused a wave of tense FBI investigations.
Volkswagen, though the most active in transformation to electrification, is not immune to encountering small setbacks. Some of the ID. models with early versions of software have a chance of encountering a black screen issue while in use. Compared to “Ant-Man” who had to go through various struggles to release himself from house arrest, Volkswagen is much more clever. Currently, the relevant solutions have been released in mid-January, and Volkswagen will proactively contact affected car owners to resolve the issue.
## The Future is Here
They say squatting is for jumping, and tying shoelaces is for accelerating.
On February 17th, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” was released nationwide in North America. As a responsible creator, spoilers cannot be given, but what is certain is that the story of the superhero will continue with the accompaniment of the global Volkswagen ID.4 vehicle.
With a focus on technology, the Volkswagen MEB platform continues to grow.
Don’t forget where we came from while moving forward. Looking back slightly, since the first MEB platform car, the ID.3, was unveiled at the end of 2019, the Volkswagen ID. family, based on the MEB platform, has delivered over 500,000 vehicles to consumers globally, and the target of the MEB platform is to reach tens of millions.
Goals are divided into the “Pie in the Sky Faction” and the “Practical Faction.” The flexibility and scalability of the MEB platform is the foundation that supports the goal of selling tens of millions of units. The modular concept allows for flexible adjustments of wheelbase and axle distance. The MEB platform is like a fertile soil, allowing various types of vehicles to grow freely, from compact two-door cars to spacious SUVs and MPVs of larger sizes. Volkswagen Group already has 12 MEB platform models in its portfolio.
From platform to concrete models, the latest fruit is the “7” series. At the CES 2023 venue this year, we saw the latest member of the Volkswagen ID. family, the Volkswagen ID.7, at the “Super Charging Station.” It is the first pure electric sedan on the MEB platform, also the production version of the previously introduced ID.AERO concept car, and a pure electric version of the classic Volkswagen Passat.
Although it is still disguised with a gradient mosaic at the exhibition, according to official sources, it is actually very close to us – this new car will be launched in China in April and will be produced and launched first in the second half of this year.
The constantly increasing cruising range is affected by many factors, but the battery is definitely the key. The modular concept of MEB is not only reflected in the body size, but also in the modular design of the power battery it carries. Taking the already-launched ID.4 as an example, the 55 kWh version can satisfy the daily travel needs of urban driving and also lowers the threshold for owning the vehicle; the 83 kWh version can provide more mileage bonuses.
Therefore, as Volkswagen continues to invest funds and R&D resources on the MEB platform, and as MEB is about to transform into MEB+, Volkswagen has initially focused on the battery with the evolutionary skill points obtained.
The MEB+ platform will adopt Volkswagen’s new generation of unit cell technology batteries. If you ask where is the new technology, for consumers, the most important thing is to see the therapeutic effect without looking at advertisements. In addition to the maximum cruising range of up to 700 km, the skill tree of MEB+ continues to explore in the direction of charging power. After all, the so-called electric vehicle anxiety is not only about cruising range, which means the radius of activity for single energy replenishment, 700 km has already caught up with or even exceeded many fuel vehicles; the other is to aim at the charging speed. If the charging speed is close to the refueling speed, what is there for consumers to be anxious about? In this regard, MEB+ provides a number of 200 kW.
In the past, we were used to seeing “+” as a small upgrade, but the toothpaste tube of MEB+ was obviously squeezed to the maximum – the improvement of MEB+ is not only in energy storage, but also in digital architecture.According to the official spoiler information, vehicles on the MEB+ platform will receive significant upgrades in autonomous driving capabilities in collaboration with CARIAD, a software company under the Volkswagen Group.
After solidifying the two major performance foundations of electric vehicles, namely endurance and intelligent driving, it is natural for vehicles on the MEB+ platform to achieve a wide range of features from high performance to luxurious in the future.
In the battle of new energy vehicles, if we liken it to a game of pushing towers, the ultimate goal of each automaker is to promote their electric vehicles to more users.
When we focus on Volkswagen’s strategy, on the left side, it keeps introducing new vehicle models; in the middle, it enhances the experience through the MEB+ platform; and on the right, it collaborates with CARIAD to focus on intelligent mobility.
Just like the ID.4 in “Ant-Man 3”, Volkswagen, guided by its ACCELERATE strategy, is continuously accelerating forward in the new energy vehicle race in its unique way.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.