Volkswagen's APP550 Electric Motor Bottleneck Spreads In Europe

The Volkswagen Group’s problem with the all-new APP550 drive units for MEB-based electric cars might be bigger than initially thought.

According to Handelsblatt (via Electrive), the production volume of the new APP550 rear-wheel drive unit (210 kW / 286 PS and 550 Nm) is significantly limited.

The constraints are so big that it already affected the Zwicaku and Emden plants in Germany, causing Zwickau’s production halt of Volkswagen ID.4, Volkswagen ID.5, Audi Q4 e-tron, and Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron. Soon, the production will be limited at Skoda’s plant in Mlada Boleslav in the Czech Republic too, which means fewer Skoda Enyaq iVs. Handelsblatt reports that a Skoda spokeswoman confirmed that the shortage of APP550 units will affect the Skoda Enyaq iV in November and December. The Cupra Tavascan (production in China for Europe) could be affected too.

The only good news is that the U.S. factory for the Volkswagen ID.4 and Chinese production of the MEB-based models for the local market continue to be unaffected.

The European models, equipped with the original APP310 electric motor (150 kW and 310 Nm), can be produced without disruption (although they are disrupted because of insufficient demand for the ID.3 and Cupra Born).

According to Handelsblatt, two people familiar with the matter confirmed that the issue with the APP550 is related to the ramp-up of the production line: “According to the insiders, the problem lies with a system that produces stators for the APP550. The plant can currently only reach around 30 percent of the technically promised capacity. Over 50 VW employees are working in a task force to rectify the problem.”

There are also reports that Volkswagen is trying to redirect the available APP550 motors to the Emden plant to at least limit the disruption of the ID.7 and ID.4 production there, but even in Emden, there was a five-day break.

Well, the new APP550 electric motors are not only more powerful than the original APP310 but also more efficient to improve the driving range. However, it’s not good news that Volkswagen Group can’t produce enough of them.

With the limited APP550 supply, the Volkswagen Group might easily lose a five-digit production number of the MEB-based cars in Q4. It would undercut the company’s all-electric car sales results, further increasing the distance to Tesla and BYD.

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