The Euro-Asian alliance between the Volkswagen Group and Xpeng is showing the first fruits of its labour. It is a platform for electric cars christened China Electrical Architecture (CEA) and will be fitted on VW-branded cars that the Sino-German duo will produce and sell in China from 2026.

Announcing the progress is the eastern manufacturer, which speaks of a 40% cost reduction compared to the MEB platform developed in Germany. The secrets of this technology? Fewer control units and the presence of a central computer and structures governing electronics and other functions, such as autonomous driving.

Starting with an SUV

The new creature is supposed to be an offspring of the Edward platform used in the Xpeng G9. In fact, it was the two companies who declared that the joint programme would also draw from the current electric SUV skeleton. All this as part of a broader agreement, which also includes the production of two electric cars (starting with an SUV), synergetic procurement of various components and collaboration on software.

Xpeng G9 (2023)

Xpeng G9

Europe-Asia Bridge

But that's not all, because the partnership includes the acquisition of 4.99% of the Asian start-up by Volkswagen: a move costing €700 million and allowing Wolfsburg to get its hands on the technologies of the Asian company, founded in 2014 and ahead of many other competitors.

Among the company's flagships are above all the V2X (Vehicle-to-everything) and XNGP systems, corresponding to Tesla's FSD (Full Self-Driving). So we are facing a first example of bridging Europe and China in the four-wheel industry.

'Competition is very fierce and we have to adapt our cost structure to be competitive in this environment,' comments Ralf Brandstaetter, head of Volkswagen Group China. "This is a decisive step in our development of China-specific smart connected vehicles and the acceleration of our strong 'In China, for China' strategy."