Only days before the official unveiling of the ID.7 saloon, Volkswagen has released details about its next-generation electric drive unit for the rear axle.

Dubbed APP550, the power unit is a completely new development that's said to provide higher performance and improved efficiency for Volkswagen's ID. family of EVs.

As a result, it will contribute to increase both performance and range on VW's electric vehicles. Designed to fit in the same space within the MEB platform as the current rear-drive unit, the new power unit delivers 210 kilowatts (281 bhp) and a maximum torque of around 405 pound-feet (550 Newton-metres) – depending on the vehicle's gear ratio.

That's considerably more than VW's current rear-drive motor, which makes 201 bhp (150 kW) and 229 lb-ft (310 Nm). The significantly higher torque ensures superior power development, both from standstill and at higher speeds, according to the automaker.

The new APP550 electric drive achieves its high torque thanks to an enhanced stator with a higher effective number of windings and a larger wire cross-section. In addition, the rotor is equipped with a more powerful permanent magnet that has a higher load capacity. Volkswagen has also reinforced the unit to to withstand the considerable torque it produces.

Gallery: Volkswagen's 210-kW electric rear-drive power unit

Volkswagen also says the inverter was developed to supply the high phase currents needed for greater power and efficiency, acting as the controlling "brain" in the powertrain. 

Also worth a mention is the optimised thermal management through intelligent cooling. The APP550 has an energy-saving cooling system that operates without an electrically driven oil pump. The system can cool itself independently via the gear wheels of the gearbox and specially formed components for oil supply and distribution. 

The heated oil is cooled by the vehicle's coolant circuit, which keeps the drive at operating temperature. Finally, the outside of the stator is equipped with a water heat sink.

The new electric drive unit, including the gearbox, rotor and stator, will be produced at the Volkswagen Group Components plant in Kassel.

The carmaker plans to deliver the first ID. vehicles with the new drive generation in a 210-kW version from the end of the year. It did not say which model will be the first to get it, but the ID.7 saloon looks like a prime candidate.