Video: Volkswagen Lithium-Ion Battery Research

SEP 12 2013 BY MARK KANE 22

Volkswagen e-up!

Volkswagen e-up!

This year, Volkswagen is presenting at the Frankfurt Motor Show three pure electric vehicles – two production ones (e-Up! and e-Golf) and one concept (e-load Up!).

This is extremely unusual because earlier we only ever saw concept plug-in prototypes from VW.

Volkswagen is making bold statements about its goal to be leader is the electric vehicle segment.

For now, it’s hard to say how they will catch Tesla with its outstanding Model S or Nissan with volume sales of the LEAF.  We don’t think VW will be that leader anytime soon.

But VW seems to going forward on previously peeled paths.

Below we see an interesting 15-minute video on VW’s battery research program that indicates the Germany automaker is hard at work on lithium-ion battery cells.

Categories: Battery Tech, Videos, Volkswagen


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22 Comments on "Video: Volkswagen Lithium-Ion Battery Research"

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This was a good video if they say this car can do 93 miles on a charge that is a 18 mile improvement over the Nissan Leaf which depending on price could give it a run for it’s money. But the video was also interesting with them studying the new battery tech coming out over the next few years. For all we know the batteries we are putting into our electric cars could be obsolete by now considering all the progress they are making.

Actually it’s a 9-mile improvement, if it’s real. The 2013 Nissan Leaf is rated to 84 miles of range on a 100% charge. A 9-mile difference is pretty much indistinguishable. To really break out from the group, it would have to be solidly over 100 miles. VW is just following everyone else’s lead and producing a 80-100 mile EV.

What I’m wondering about is when someone breaks though with a 100 or 120 mile EV or if one of the existing models gets a 30 to 40 mile upgrade in that alone would allow them to take over the market. If they don’t start raising the range of these EV’s people like me who are waiting are going to go out by a Tesla generation 3 and the rest of them are going to get thrown under the bus.

I have looked at buying one of these older converted EV’s or a EV from the first generation of factory built EV’s which has lead acid batteries in it and replace them with Lithium to see how much of a range improvement and a weight reduction I would get if I wanted to go a 100 miles on a charge. But the biggest barrier to this idea is I have not been able to get a clear price the b attires from any of the companies to see if it’s feasible.

By the time the Tesla GenIII comes along, I would be absolutely shocked if the current BEVs had the same range. You’re right – if they don’t, they will die. The only reason someone would chose them over Tesla is brand history (Tesla is a very young company), but Tesla is proving to be matching typical reliability of the 100-year-old auto companies.

Look at Tesla with a 4,000 pound car even though it is made substantially from aluminium panels. One of the reasons the range of other cars is not moving is that they are still pulling along those steel shells, they weigh a lot. This is why retrofitting gas cars is a bad idea.

Realistically we should be trading in aluminum parts for carbon fibre at this point. Gas cars didn’t use this technology because nobody was *that* interested in getting the gas mileage up at any cost.

What about the RAV4EV? It does over 100 miles with lots of room and a decent lease deal. If this is the breakthrough vehicle it certainly does not sell very well.


The e-Golf NEDC rating, 190~192 km, is actually just below the 200 km of the 2013 Leaf.
Basically, range is about the same.

Breakthroughs in battery tech — assuming some actually end up materializing instead of remaining flashy press releases — also won’t suddenly make current EVs drive less well or anything, maybe just impact their resale value, which is of no consequence for anyone who leases or intend to keep the car for a long time.

(One could even argue that a new cheaper/better battery, assuming it can be retrofitted into existing vehicles, might make used EVs more desirable, not less)

Frankfurt => Germany => NEDC

Should we compare this exaggerated mileage against the real leaf mileage, or the exaggerated leaf mileage?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

What’s their battery density and cost per kWh? If they’re not at at least 200Wh/kg and $300/kWh, then they’re wasting their time and should just buy them or a license from Tesla.

Wow that was awesomely detailed. Also, cute battery chemist was actually a real life cute battery chemist. Girl [battery] power!

This was one of the best you tube video on batteries and tech I have ever seen.

From the shape of that battery, it is clear that VW still has gasoline and diesel on the brain. Most of the volume is the center tunnel for the transmission and exhaust in the gas version and the lump in the back for the gas tank in the gas version.

They are designing the battery around the existing (gas/diesel) car instead of designing an electric car. That will do for now but the cars designed as EVs from the ground up will have advantages over these obvious conversions.

VW hasn’t exactly been hiding this fact. They have said that they designed the platform to work with all fuel types, of which diesel and gas still take the lion’s share. I think it’s smart. It seems better to put the battery in the center tunnel than in the trunk (ala Ford Focus).

Oh I think it works for now. But when electric cars designed as electric cars from the ground up sell much better because they have more functional designs, I don’t want to hear them saying “electric cars don’t sell”, then need to say “Our kludgy conversions don’t sell as well as better designed electric cars”.

I noticed the acronym NMC on one of the iPad shots, so looks like they could be testing the same chemistry as Nissan (Nickel Manganese Cobalt) for the next generation. I hope for at least a 50% increase in capacity, at the same or lower cost, on the market within 3 years. I wonder if that’s too optimistic.

A good reason to lease electric cars.

Seeing as VW is known for a steady stream of lies about EVs, what should we expect this to be… : )

Let us remind ourselves of the price of the VW XL1.

This is a big company posing, saying to small companies, you can’t match this so don’t try making any products. When in reality Vdub likely hasn’t developed any battery tech and they buy their batteries like everyone else. For the few token overpriced cars they put out, Ford style.

Take your happy pills Dan!!!. Eller en tudekiks, sure gamle mand. No need to be so bitter and twisted, just because the EVworld is not at your feet yet, and seems to be doing just fine without you, though I’m sure they do appreciate the excellent advise you have been coughing up over the years. Maybe an opinion on the RUF system while you’re at it..?? Love your infallible attitude, amazing technical insight, and spirited sense of humor. Hang in there old boy – somebody will get in touch one day when they run out of ideas, and we’ll all bathe in your glory..

Dibs on the skinny frauline.

Ideas for VWs next film (a tad more interesting):

– Why we are trailing everyone else at making electric cars.

– Our long running war with the state of California.

– How shutting down all nuclear plans in detchland and buying power from the same in france still qualifies us as “green”.

– Why we are seriously tired of propping up the Euro.

It is hard to tell what is the best strategy for achieving an efficient EV.
Pure electric and buying the big batteries from someone else like Tesla.
Range extended and buying a small battery from someone else like BMW.
Pure electric and making the big battery in house like VW.
In the mean time it is more about finding the best balance between EV range and battery price, Rex size from zero to 100 % power requirement, start model from the top or from the bottom, luxury level supper high or super low.
Each builder pick its own choices but in the end what matter is being able to provide the car that can be used by everybody, can be paid by everybody and has at least the same performance and range as a standard car.