Volkswagen Powertrain Boss: 370 Miles Of Electric Range Possible For BEVs By 2020

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 37

Volkswagen e-up! battery pack

Volkswagen e-up! battery pack

Volkswagen e-Golf & e-up!

Volkswagen e-Golf & e-up!

Virtually anything is possible, but are the claims made by Volkswagen’s head of powertrain development probable?

VW head of powertrain development, Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, had plug-ins on his mind when he told various media outlets that electric range for BEVs will increase substantially over the coming years:

“[Plug-in hybrid technology] is completely a bridging technology [and] we have two bridging technologies.”

“At one end there is plug-in hybrid technology and at the other is fuel cells, because both enlarge your operating range of the car when you have no recharging system available. When you have a recharging system it’s the easiest way to plug in the car, to recharge the battery and to drive electric.”

“Battery [technology] makes the biggest steps in very short time frames. If you look at when we started with the e-mobility of the Golf, and you look now to the Passat, we have done the first step.”

“We have more energy density in the batteries [than before], and in 2015-16 will come the next step which means we come from 25-28 ampere hours (Ah) energy density to 36-37Ah. Now we are actually working on the next step to around 60Ah… with research will come a completely new electro-chemical chemistry inside the batteries, and this will come at the beginning of the next decade.”

“We have to look to the e-Golf, which had an operating range of around 190km.  I expect the next generation in 2015-17 will increase to around 300km and the following step will be around 500-600km.”

Turns out Neusser is one of the talkative types.

Neuesser discussed charging too:

“It is dependent on different markets and countries, or how the infrastructure grows, because when you have such a high energy load inside the batteries, you need a very powerful recharging system.”

“You can’t recharge with 3.6kW (domestic power), it takes a very long time. You need minimum 50, 80 or perhaps even 90kW recharging power, and these are water-cooled recharging systems, very high performance recharging systems.”

“But, people are working on this, and I expect it will come, but it takes a little bit of time until it’s there. And we are free to continue with PHEV technology to bridge [the gap until] each country has time enough to bring their infrastructure this way.”

Source: Motoring

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37 responses to "Volkswagen Powertrain Boss: 370 Miles Of Electric Range Possible For BEVs By 2020"

  1. pjwood says:

    I haven’t had a sunroof VW that hasn’t leaked. I go to the latest one, where it is being repaired, and tamp the floors with towels after it rains. I’m serious.

    Otherwise, I love how they form fit this thing.

  2. Jouni Valkonen says:

    Yet again that same old silly battery bullshit. We need working prototypes, not empty claims that assure that they are doing something although they are doing nothing while Tesla is building their gigafactories in plural.

    1. David Murray says:

      You could hardly say VW is “doing nothing” being they are bringing several plug-in vehicles to market.

    2. ffbj says:

      Ouch! Man you don’t pull any punches.

    3. DaveMart says:

      Actually, VW are rather good at making cars, having put their 200 millionth car on the road recently, and what is more make money doing so without being entirely dependent of government tax breaks and credits.

      Funnily enough they have picked up a couple of things about logistics along the way, and are likely to be able to set up a sufficient supply of batteries working with their partners, which include Panasonic who are putting the meat which actually produces battery cells into the Tesla factory.

      Since the VW groups annual investment budget is enough for around 4 and half gigafactories a year, it seems likely that they will be able to manage the supply.

      The 35-36Ah battery giving around a third increase in range for the E-Golf will already be in small series production, and going through final on the road testing, or there is no way he would suggest a 2015-6 release date.

      That qualifies as a bit more than a working prototype to me, and is rather more solid than the Model III which is not in prototype at all, and is what is supposed to need the output of the gigafactory as the Model S and Model X can be supplied very handily from Japan,

      1. Rob Stark says:

        Investments budgets don’t mean feces.

        Particularly when your investing primarily in 20th century tech.

        Results matter.

        1. DaveMart says:

          Neither do achievements, it appears, in your view.

          So many on this site apparently know so much more than the people who have done the studying, who are doing the hard work in technology, and those who have built up and run vast businesses.

          A large investment budget does not in itself guarantee success, nor does having built up and run a multi billion dollar business for decades, but if they are unimportant, how come you are not producing the ultimate transportation machine?

          1. Lustuccc says:

            They can do it right now. Like the other ICE car makers, they delay and delay and delay…

    4. Misha says:

      What are you even saying. Those are existing batteries used by your tablet… Flat batteries are being used and it’s not a new thing. Do you even read?

      It’s possible that there are advantages to cylindrical batteries and I can practically see some. I’m sure when seasoned companies all chose them they must’ve all seen something..

      1. Misha says:

        *as opposed to cylindrical batteries

    5. Ocean Railroader says:

      In till I can drive in it I also don’t believe they have it.

      Oddly I think as if now I think the hamsters at Kia might be the closest to a 150 mile range EV. In that they get 90 to 100 miles range on their existing EV. They also have a energy density that is 50% more then the Mitsubishi i-miev.

  3. Ron says:

    I’m close to buying an e-Golf. If he’s saying better batteries in 2015-2017, he’s telling me my new e-Golf will be obsolete in a couple of years.

    I’d feel more comfortable him saying it would be more like 2018, they will be more expensive, they will weigh more, or that a ne battery can be easily installed in the e-Golf.

    Otherwise, he’s expecting me to shell out 40K for an obsolete car

    Ron

    1. DaveMart says:

      He reckon they may be able to make the 2017 version ‘obsolete’ by 2020 or so, if a new model having more range makes it so, that is.

      It reminds me a bit,hopefully if increased battery densities come off, of computers.

      For the last 30 years it hasn’t been worth worrying whether something more powerful would come along, because it always does.

      You just check the specs, and if it does the job, you pull the trigger.

      For 2015-6 he is talking about the 35-36Ah cell anyway, which will offer about a third more range, nice but not transformational.

      Whether the battery pack is upgradable to the new model probably depends on if they are able to stick with the same simple cooling system for the higher energy density, or they need to move on to something fancier.

      Of course there might be issues with the management system too.

      If the VW engineers have done their jobs though, unlike the rather sketchy on that Nissan’s did on the Leaf, at least for hot climates, the battery should last pretty well the life of the car anyway though.

      What it says on the tin is pretty much what you get for range though, and then it will gently decrease with time too.

      Don’t count on upgrades.

      1. Ocean Railroader says:

        I would be the type to put a better higher range battery into a EV if I like the EV. But that’s if the battery is able to fit into the existing EV and if the new battery can offer at least to a doubling of range.

  4. Cavaron says:

    Saying PHEV is a bridge technology – check
    Saying FC are just another bridge – check
    Stating that recharging with a plug is the best way to go – check
    Stating that capable batteries will be there soon – check

    The first statements from another company than Tesla about the future of EVs and cars in general, that I can completely agree with.
    Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser should be CEO of VW.

    And he should take a close look at the Renault Zoe, its 43kW AC charger should do the trick for home charging of a 300 mile EV (about 90 minutes to nearly full I would guess).

    1. Jouni Valkonen says:

      But the key point what Heinz meant there was that electric cars are not ready for mainstream TODAY, so it does not make sense for VW to invest on electric cars but rather wait new revolutionary batteries to emerge in some point of the future.

      1. Cavaron says:

        Yeah, well – I wouldn’t be to pessimistic about that. He gave a timeframe for the 300km (I guess 130milish EPA) E-Golf from 2015-17. So could even be next year…

  5. Bianco says:

    So VW is waiting for someone else to build the charging infrastructure… Then they will start selling BEVs.
    The egg is waiting for the heen. Or the other way around.

    1. ffbj says:

      What a long, strange trip it’s been, and we are the kids in the backseat and VW is the mom and dad.
      Kids: “Are we there yet?”
      Mom and Dad: “We’ll get there when we get there.”

      1. You’re dad said that too, huh?

        1. ffbj says:

          Yes, and he was invariably correct. Also it had desired effect of shutting us up.

          1. Phr3d says:

            ♫ Busted.. down on Bourbon Street..♫

            in a VW microbus, no less

    2. DaveMart says:

      If those people who have bought one find out that the E-Ups and E-Golfs VW have sold them aren’t electric they are going to be seriously disappointed.

      All he is saying is that if they manage to increase battery density as much as he hopes, then faster charging will be needed or the big batteries will take too long to fill.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        Well, Tesla, for the Model S and similar models has successfully taking care of the fast charger situation both in the US and Europe looks like.

        Whether they’ll be able to sustain the COST of the system longterm is another question, but for the moment they’re going great guns.

        My complaint about public chargers is I rarely can find the ones listed on Plugshare.com.
        Charge rates with me are not so big a deal, as I realize someone has to pay for anything above a trickle charge rate.

        And certain owners, namely VOLT owners, have surprised even GM as to how little extra money they want to spend to charge their cars. I’ve talked to several fellow volt owners here, the vast majority do not have any facility to charge other than the standard 110 that comes with the car. Most are not too worried about the electrician expense, they don’t even want to pay for an extra evse even if they’re only $400.

        THey’d just as soon use a bit more gasoline, since the times they’d need it will never make up the $400. In my own case, I use LEVEL 2 charging because It’s almost mandaatory for a Tesla Roadster. I get between 1 and 2 miles per hour, charging at 110, but 24 charging on 220 at 30 amps.

        So, since the EVSE is mostly available, I use it because I have it. But, ideally, I don’t need it for the volt, either.

  6. Alex says:

    They only want that you wait and don’t buy an EV. In 2011 a reporter ask VW why they don’t build some EV like the Nissan LEAF. One of the bosses said: “in two years we will bring a electric car, but we wait because we do it right with morge range, range of Leaf ist bad”. Now in 2014 they bring the e-Golf with same battery size like Leaf and same range. VW = biggest liar ! I will never buy any VW.
    The Kia Soul EV hat around 20 miles more range, it’s a car the engineers want to sell not like e-Golf…

    1. Ocean Railroader says:

      I think Kia might be very serous about selling EV’s that it’s not even funny. The first factor is they are building 100 kilowatt Chamo chargers which in theory could give Tesla a run for it’s money in DC fast charging. They also have a battery that is 50% higher in density then a Mitsubishi i-miev. The Kia is also a few thousand less then this car and regularly breaks past a 100 miles in the range department.

      I think the only thing that is holding Kia back now is that they have to get battery production and car production into high gear. Kia is also the closet car maker to building a 150 mile range EV in that in theory they could at 10 to 12 kilowatts to their existing car and battery pack to get a 150 miles range. Kia could do this two ways the first by adding a larger battery pack with more cells. Or they could go the cool way and have a 20% in energy density improvements in their existing battery pack.

  7. Spec9 says:

    More than 100 miles is possible today. Why not build one?

    1. DaveMart says:

      Because they have set what they think is the right amount of space for the battery, and are relying on increasing the amperage to give over 100 miles.

      The 35Ah one, which from what they have said they have to be road testing right now, should give 112 miles of range or so.

    2. Whatever says:

      Because it would be too expensive except for rich people, which is why the Tesla is a large luxury car. No one would pay $50k for a 300 mile electric Golf.

  8. Now we’ve heard from the powertrain boss, will VW production boss confirm that VW can build more than 10-20,000 BEVs per year? Numbers that BMW, Nissan and Tesla are currently delivering.

    For now only a limited number of dealers are allowed to stock the eGolf in the 8 ZEV states. Of note, the first U.S. VW eGolf purchase was by an owner in Washington state … highest per capital PEV sales in U.S. When will VW officially stock the eGolf in Washington or Georgia, another high PEV adoption non-ZEV state?

    The good news on (DC) Fast Charging front is that 20 kW wall chargers in the $4,000-$7,000 (240v) are just a year or so away. ABB and BMW are both planning to deploy units in the next year. Also 20 kW AC Level2 charging is here today, with one network of 20 kW AC having been deployed coast-to-coast across Canada. (Of course a eGolf can currently only charge at ~6 kW today)

    1. DaveMart says:

      Why wouldn’t they be able to?

      They run them down the same production line as any other Golf, that was the whole idea of the MQB platform.

      The only bit that is different is:

      ‘There’s one spot where the e-Golf assembly process diverges: With chassis and powertrain married to the body, e-Golfs are towed to a nearby section of the factory where eight teams of EV assembly specialists install high-voltage components of the e-Golf, including the battery pack, power control unit and charging controller. The process adds an hour to the usual Golf assembly time.

      Manzenrieder says the process is an extra step to ensure quality and to build an in-house team of experts on the nuances of electric-car assembly. If Volkswagen wanted to, that step could be shifted to the normal assembly line. “When we are ready and our team is ready, we’ll switch back,” Manzenrieder said.’

      http://www.autonews.com/article/20140719/OEM03/307219990/e-golf-marks-vws-flexible-product-path

      The cells are from Panasonic, assembled into batteries by VW at Wolfburg.

      As for the other bits, organising and ordering parts is basic to mass manufacturers, and there is no reason to doubt that VW can turn them out in whatever quantity the market wants.

      As for dealers in the States, there is one certification process for electric vehicles by them, including both PHEVs and BEVs, and they will want to utilise the facilities and personnel by offering as many as possible of the models.

      Here is their electric vehicle service program:

      ‘Work on high-voltage vehicle systems is performed by certified high-voltage technicians. In addition to the basic vehicle-electrics skills attained as part of the apprenticeship training received to become an automobile mechanic, high-voltage technicians have successfully completed several days of specific additional training on an electric-drive vehicle. One of the most important jobs of a high-voltage technician is to completely disconnect all sources of electricity in a vehicle before work can subsequently be done on components such as the drive unit. Some 43,000 electrically skilled personnel are already employed at Volkswagen partner operations, around 1,700 high-voltage technicians work at 890 special high-voltage centres and 110 high-voltage specialists are employed at the importer organisations.

      In addition to qualified personnel, the workshops require special diagnostics equipment such as tools with which to gauge currents in high-voltage systems. At the Automechanika in Frankfurt, Volkswagen will showcase its compact VAS 6558A high-voltage measuring module. This device features all the functions needed to gauge voltage in electric vehicles. With its highly sensitive gauging technology, the device can detect even extremely low resistance values in the milli-ohm range. The VAS 6558A then transmits the gauged values via an interface to diagnosis devices already used by Volkswagen partners.’

      http://evworld.com/news.cfm?newsid=28704

      This was in 2012, and it is rolling out across the States right now.

  9. Brian says:

    This sounds suspicious, as if they are saying “Don’t buy an EV today! Tomorrow’s will be so much better!”

    I’m sorry to be a cynic here, but I don’t see 370 mile (EPA) EVs available outside of Tesla in 2020.

    1. DaveMart says:

      Counting their $13k loss per car in the 3rd quarter, tax rebates in California Federal and state of $10k, which at least for the Federal element are going to expire, and the ZEV sales money they got from other companies of around $9k, then to have a non-subsidised viable business Tesla need to take out around $32k of cost per car, about the price of an average new car.

      Now maybe they will do it, but it is hardly a done deal, so I wouldn’t count too many chickens yet.

      If you find a way through tax breaks and shareholder losses to sell a $130k car for $100k, it is hardly surprising if some like the deal.

      1. Brian says:

        I am not really sure what you are getting at here, DaveMart. Your response does not seem to actually be directed at my comment.

        I simply said that I don’t believe anyone other than Tesla will be making a 300+ mile EV in this decade. Whether Tesla needs subsidies to survive or not is besides the point. And if Tesla does not make a 300+ mile EV, then that does not negate my point either, unless somehow VW or someone else manages to.

        So what “chickens” do you reckon I am counting?

        1. Bill Howland says:

          I’m surprised you didn’t challenge him on the “charging takes too long” comment. It has more gravitas if it comes from you.

      2. Phr3d says:

        yep, the numbers don’t equate to the earnings report I read – were you responding to something else DM?

  10. Bill Howland says:

    Point 1). All these companies, including Tesla, seem to make claims far in advance of any actual product… As far as Tesla goes, I just wonder how many years I have to wait for a 400 mile range, (works out to 87 kwh) battery.. This is perfectly doable in the roadster with today’s batteries.

    Point 2). At least in the states, VW is having a sales problem since as mentioned the quality and attention to detail of the VW’s I used to love as a kid just isn’t there. They always break down, and the engines burn too much oil.

    SO they wonder how come their sales are lousy in the states, and keep changing their sales managers here, thinking that will help. The quality of the vw’s is catching up with them.

    It remains to be seen if this egolf is any good.