A Complete Guide to Every Car Brand’s Electric Vehicle Platforms
The car world is going electric: A growing list of car manufacturers promises to phase out internal combustion engines by 2030. To keep track of the progress of this transition, take a look at the various platforms these cars are built on and how they work.
There are basically three options for manufacturers to create an electric vehicle:
- Retrofitting: Manufacturers are modifying the existing combustion architecture to build an electric car. It’s the easiest, fastest way to build an electric vehicle, and the process has gotten a lot more sophisticated in the days since Tesla threw batteries into a Lotus Elise chassis to build its roadster. But it’s still an ad hoc method and can be a dead end for future development.
- Hybrid platforms: Many modern car architectures have been designed in such a way that they can be combined with modular combustion, hybrid and all-electric drives. On the plus side, this gives the manufacturer a lot of flexibility in customizing it for the market – but on the EV front, it limits the choices of designs by forcing them into the rigors of combustion platforms.
- Special EV platforms: Most manufacturers will (or will) switch to dedicated EV platforms in the next decade. These are basically skateboards made up of wheels and a battery pack that offer maximum design flexibility. Developing them is expensive and time-consuming, but once a manufacturer has a specially designed EV platform, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to use it to create new vehicles. Because of this, some companies are taking a long time to get their first EV out the door, but still promise to have 10-25 of these at dealerships by 2025.
Here you can see all of the EV platforms that are currently being used by individual manufacturers.
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CLAR / FAAR: BMW uses two platforms for most of its current range: CLAR for RWD vehicles and FAAR for FWD vehicles. The platforms are modular and work with combustion, hybrid and EV drives, so all three platforms can be assembled on the same production line. BMW is developing a special EV architecture, but it may not arrive until 2025.
GE1: Ford Global Electrified 1 platform. Ford has developed a new platform for the Mustang Mach E. It is a significantly modified version of the C2 platform that Ford uses in the Escape, Bronco Sport, Lincoln Corsair and Focus. It supports RWD and AWD.
BEV2: General Motors’ second generation EV platform. It debuted in the Chevrolet Bolt in 2016 and is still found in the revised bolt and the new bolt EUV.
BEV3: GM’s platform for third generation battery electric vehicles. It’s a skateboard with GM’s new proprietary Ultium batteries that can be packed vertically or horizontally. It can record ranges of up to 400 miles and 0-60 mph for up to 3.0 seconds. It is compatible with RWD, FWD and AWD vehicles. It is used in the Cadillac Lyriq, among others.
BT1: An electric body platform developed from GM’s T1 truck platform. It will also use GM’s new Ultium batteries. It will underpin the new Hummer EV and future electric Silverados, Sierras and Escalades.
Honda and: The Honda e-platform debuted with the Honda e-hatchback. It is an RWD and was developed for driving dynamics and maximum efficiency with a small battery. It is unlikely that these city cars will be seen in the United States. The first Honda / Acura cars in the US may be SUVs built on GM’s BEV3 platform before a larger Honda EV platform later arrives.
E-GMP: Electric global modular platform. This is Hyundai’s skateboard platform that will support future electric vehicles for Hyundai Genesis and Kia, including the new Ioniq 5 and EV6 sports crossover. It enables both 400 volt and 800 volt fast charge and V2L functions to send power back to the grid. Heavy duty applications can see 0-60 mph by 3.5 seconds and top speeds in excess of 160 mph.
B-SUV / GB / eco-car: The Hyundai Group offers electric versions of cars on hybrid platforms, including the Hyundai Kona Electric, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, and the Kia Niro EV.
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EVA: Electric vehicle architecture. This is a new, dedicated platform for large EV cars and SUVs. It will arrive this year with the EQS and EQE sedans and the new electric SUVs that follow.
MMA: Modular electrical architecture from Mercedes-Benz. This will be a special platform for small and medium-sized electric vehicles that Mercedes would like to have by 2025.
MY: Modular electrical architecture. These are Mercedes vehicles like the EQC and EQA that run on an electric version of the platforms of their counterparts to internal combustion engines.
Renault / Nissan / Mitsubishi
CMF-EV: This is the electric car version of the Renault / Nissan / Mitsubishi Common Module Family platform. It is used in compact cars, sedans and crossovers across the range of brands. The first production model will be the upcoming Nissan Ariya crossover.
Nissan EV platform: This is a front engine FWD platform that Nissan first developed for the Leaf in 2010.
Rivian “Skateboard”: Rivian’s skateboard platform is a quad motor system with adjustable air suspension. The name “skateboard” comes from how flat it is; All drive components are located below wheel height for maximum flexibility. It will support Rivian’s R1T truck, R1S SUV and Amazon delivery vehicles.
Model S: The Model S platform is a full-size vehicle platform that underpins the Model X as well. Currently it is only used in two-engine or three-engine AWD applications. It enables 480 volts to be charged in the Tesla charger network.
Model 3: Model 3 runs on a compact vehicle platform. The Model Y also uses it and shares about 75 percent of its components with the Model 3. It offers less range and performance than the Model S platform.
Toyota / Subaru
e-TNGA: This is the electric version of Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform, jointly developed by Toyota and Subaru. It will be a modular system with fixed and variable components that will allow Toyota to use it on a range of vehicle sizes. It will appear in the upcoming Toyota and Lexus EVs, as well as the Subaru Evoltis.
MEB: VW’s “modular electrical toolkit”. This platform will support RWD and AWD ID series vehicles that fulfill Volkswagen’s promise to build electric cars for millions, not millionaires. The platform is designed to be cost-effective and flexible for affordable electric vehicles. VW will license it to other manufacturers like Ford.
J1: High-performance platform developed by Porsche that is currently used in the Taycan and the Audi E-Tron GT. Characteristic for its 800 volt charging infrastructure, which should enable faster charging if the infrastructure supports it.
PPE: Premium Performance Electric. This platform has both high and low-floor variants and is used to support cars and crossovers such as the Porsche Macan and much of the Audi range.
MLB Evo: The Audi E-tron runs on the MLB Evo platform, a combustion platform that, as the name suggests, is a further development of the MLB platform. It is also used by the Bentley Bentayga, the Porsche Cayenne, and the Lamborghini Urus.
Volvo / Polestar
CMA: Volvo and Geely have worked together on the Compact Modular Architecture platform. FWD and AWD variants powered by combustion, hybrid or fully electric versions can be used. It is the platform for the Volvo XC40 and supports the three current electric cars from Volvo and Polestar: the Polestar 2, the Volvo XC40 Recharge and the new C40 Recharge.
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