Volkswagen Development Chief: Expect 50% More Electric Range by 2016 – 300% More by 2020


At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, German automaker Volkswagen stole the show in regards to production plug-ins on the stage.

VW e-Golf

VW e-Golf

Some still say VW is not serious when it comes to plug-ins, but that mindset will have to start changing soon.

VW development chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser was tracked down by Autocar in Geneva for comment on EVs.  Neusser made it known that VW is fully committed to developing BEV vehicles and that the automaker expects to be able to offer an EV with 50% more range than today’s BEVs (~80-ish miles) by 2016.

Beyond that, VW is working towards a goal of 300% more range by 2020.  This improvement will definitely require next-generation battery technology (solid state?), but that fact that VW admits that EVs with that range will have mass market appeal means that Volkswagen knows the end goal.

Improve today’s average range (~80 miles) by 300% and EVs takeover.

Source: Autocar

Categories: Battery Tech, Volkswagen

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76 Comments on "Volkswagen Development Chief: Expect 50% More Electric Range by 2016 – 300% More by 2020"

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Well done for nailing that one!

This was apparent from the resurrection of the Audi R8 E-tron, which they said was due to better batteries allowing increased range – 80% in that case, and the Q8 E-tron was also shown with a massive range.

I suspect that the batteries are NMC chemistry, with around the above 80% energy density increase, which is within reach for the technology and Nissan are also likely to be using a similar chemistry for their 150 mile range Leaf.

I would guess that VW are going for a 50% increase in range for 2016 not because they could not do more technically, but to hold cost down – Nissan are talking about up to a $5,000 premium for their 150 mile range Leaf.

Go VW!
Well done EV Insider!

I now notice that it is Autocar I should have complimented!
Ah well, thanks for the coverage anyway, EV Insider! 😉

What exactly are we complimenting VW for here? . . . A boast about potential future products? Let’s see them deliver first.

That does indeed sound like someone who thought that VW would never bring out electric cars.
They have, and personally I am pleased that I welcomed their announcement that they were going to do so, which I gave credence to as I saw that they were investing several billions in producing completely new platforms to enable this.

That projection proved correct, and I never thought that they would go to that trouble and that investment unless they were sure that they could move battery technology on to give more range.

So, do you want to bet that the 50% more energy dense battery is not going to happen?

I have no idea about the 300% more energy dense one, although VW’s research budget is in the billions, but the 50% more energy dense one on a 2016 time line is clearly more or less production ready.

I think VW ARE to be congratulated on proving nay-sayers wrong to date, and having clearly helped Sanyo develop the more energy dense version.

What if Neusser meant “50%” more, in the PHEVs they have yet to begin moving. Then, we’d almost be talking Volt range! That would be great. See you in 2016.

That would be nice, but I doubt it.
There seems to be some sort of European regulation which makes 50km under NEDC attractive, probably to enable all electric city driving, which the European manufacturer’s are shooting for.
I haven’t managed to track it down, as it may be in German which I don’t read, and I am lazy, but they don’t seem interested in upping PHEV EV range which is any case is pretty good for German driving patterns which has a lot of shorter journeys than in the US, combined with more long distance journeys for holidays etc.

Question: how is the EV market like the old west?

Answer: It will all get settled in the coming range wars.

Smarty VW engineer has clearly signed a contract with Tesla for packs.

300% by 2020 ? 50% by 2016 so they are going o sell an 80 mile golf in 20153
then sell a 120 mile golf in 2016
I’ll believe it when i see it

I wonder if you were one of those who was telling us that VW would never produce BEV or PHEV cars, and that they were only pretending to look into them?

In any case, although Panasonic and Tesla have done a remarkable job in their battery chemistry and Tesla gluing them together, they are far from the only game in town as you seem to imagine.

VW is not spending huge sums on electrification and battery development for fun.
How much do you imagine the testing facility showing battery development here cost to build and run?

Their present Sanyo supplied battery seems to be the basis for the 50% range increase they project for 2016:
‘Speaking at the Geneva motor show, he said that the company has tested lithium-ion batteries with its existing cell supplier (Sanyo) with between 24 and 28kWh and also up to 37kWh, but “an 80kWh unit is under development using our own technology. It would provide between three and four times the battery power in a given package.” ‘

the 37kwh pack would cover the 50% claim.

I doubt the Telegraph’s notion that the 80kwh pack is lithium air, it is more probably sulphur or solid state.

Note that VW doesn’t actually have an 80KWh batterypack based on new 3 to 4 times more energy dense material, it’s merely trying to develop such technology. Claims about battery breakthrough are a dime a dozen and maybe even cheaper now that carmakers feel increasingly embarrassed by Tesla’s success but meanwhile it’s only Tesla that actually has such packs today.

Tesla don’t have a pack that is that energy dense either.
They are about twice as energy dense as the battery pack in the present E-Up, and still have an energy density advantage over this projected 50% more dense pack, but are way short of 300% more energy dense and would also need radically better/totally different chemistry to hit that level.

Strange that those most sceptical about other companies battery technology seem infinitely gullible about Tesla’s.

Note that I never suggested Tesla had the sort of energy density VW hopes to have one day, jsut menationed Tesla is the only one with the 85KWh batterypack. Do your self a favour and read the post properly before making an ass of yourself.

You don’t appear to comprehend what you yourself have written.
You said:
‘Note that VW doesn’t actually have an 80KWh batterypack based on new 3 to 4 times more energy dense material, it’s merely trying to develop such technology.’…….meanwhile it’s only Tesla that actually has such packs today.’

If you had said that Tesla has more energy dense packs than even the VW’s projected packs with a 50% increase over today’s, that is fine.

That is not what you said.

I suggest you write more clearly, and perhaps read what you have said.

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said this week, that electric vehicles and Tesla are crap and they don’t want to sell them.

What an a**. He says “our cars don’t catch fire like Tesla’s”.

What a peculiar interpretation of what he said!
According to your own link, he knocked Tesla as they have caught on fire, a pretty unfair rap IMO, but did not dismiss in battery cars although he bigged up PHEV@

‘ In allusion to the incidents in which American manufacturers, there was a sideswipe free: you do not build burning cars, so Piech. As long as the batteries burn, Tesla doing him no particular fear.’

If you have a link to what you allege Winterkonrn said:
‘ that electric vehicles and Tesla are crap and they don’t want to sell them. ‘

please provide it, as the link you have given says no such thing.

That’s a hit piece cobbled together by some anti-EV type. What you are reading are his coloured interpretations of some remarks by these VW people. Imagination at work.

So this piece can be ignored as someone who seems emotionally invested in the failure of EV’s. While sales are rising, more mainstream buyers are getting interested and the number of available models is exploding, he is concluding that the demise of the EV is already underway. This guy is so detached from reality that he is starting to believe his own bullsh**.

I couldn’t resist commenting on this remark. It is too funny:

” Man baue keine brennenden Autos, so Piech. ”

ICE cars burn easily and often and have done so since their inception more than a century ago. Whether they are built by Mercedes, Toyota, General Motors, Hyunday or VW. VW is already building cars that burn, yet when the opportunity arises, they bash the competition for building burning cars.

Sorry, but I’m still not taking the claim too seriously. Until there is a production car on the road that uses some new battery chemistry I’m just not going to believe it. Sometimes I feel like these new batteries are sort of like fuel cells, always 5 years away..

Don’t get me wrong, I hope a new battery tech shows up that proves to be reliable and inexpensive. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

I’d agree that the 300% range increase is very much in the realm of speculation at the moment.
The 50% increased energy density for the Sanyo batteries must already be in the process of finalisation for production and way ahead of R & D development for them to expect to deploy it in 2016 though.
After all, it is no more energy dense than the batteries already in the Kia Soul EV, and a lot less energy dense than Tesla’s Panasonic pack.

So I would not regard the projected 50% energy density increase as speculative, but a solid and highly probable increase.

Did they say anything about cost? Toyota will have a Fuel Cell car on the market next year, but it will cost $100k. Tesla has a BEV with 300% the range of the e-Golf, but it too costs close to $100k. VW could make a car today that has 50% greater range, but it would be expensive.

Toyota actually say that the fuel cell car will cost $50-100k, they do not specify $100k as you claim.

Its important to be accurate, as what you have posted gives a grossly misleading impression.

This is different from what I have read. What I have read said that the Fuel Cell STACK was down in price to $50k. The car itself was expected to cost $99k. Like you said, it’s important to be accurate 😉

Of course, I can’t find the link now, so we’re both just spouting hearsay.

‘but it will cost $100k’

With nothing at all to back it up, that is a pretty strong statement.

Note that I quoted a range, and did not offer sources even for that broad statement, as you had offered none for your much more definitive claim.

‘Hartline handled the question on most consumers’ minds.

“Our plan is to bring them to market in a price range that is accessible to the general public,” she said. “‘Accessible to the general public’ does not mean a $150,000 vehicle.”

Hartline cited speculation begun by Automotive News that Toyota would price its first four-seater hybrid fuel cell sedan between $50,000-$100,000 but her tone suggested this may be high, but she revealed nothing definitive.

“Everybody is speculating but we haven’t set a specific number but it is going to be accessible to the general public. We’ve reduced cost on the system significantly over the last few generations,”’

In fact to the unprejudiced mind the Hyundai ix35 being available for lease for $499/mo shows clearly enough that any notion that Toyota will attempt to sell them for $100k plus is nonsensical, as they would not sell any.

If I’m Toyota, I up-price my BEV compiance cars and deliberately take a beating on my FCEV. Their aims aren’t to commercialize the thing. They just want to freshen up the hydrogen carrot. Sort of like VW’s “300%”.

Toyota have not invested billions in fuel cell technology over the last 20 years from way before the the regulations existed to solely to produce cars which they don’t think will have a future to comply with Californian regulations!

Whatever you may think about fuel cell technology, as inconceivable as it may seem to you, others think it is the way forward!

Toyota are also continuing to research solid state batteries, and like just about every other car company and national energy authority see a place for both battery and fuel cell cars.

Yes, it is a strong statement. I looked for the articles I had read this number in, but came up short. Yes, I read it more than once. And I also outright admitted it was hearsay. Look, I know you’re excited about fuel cells. They have a lot of potential. I was excited about their potential in the 90s (when they were also “just a few years off”), and look where we are today. It’s an understatement to say my excitement has been tempered. I also don’t think they’re necessarily a better way forward than BEVs, but that’s another discussion (and one which I try not to let affect my view of the technology itself). Bottom line – the world is full of promises. I love Tesla, but when they promise Gen3 will be priced competitive to a BMW 3-series, I tend to expect that they will fall closer to $50k than $35k. Musk promised the Model S would be half the price of the Roadster. Then he raised the price of the roadster by $30k. And when the Model S started serious production, they got rid of the 40kWh model (the one that actually was the price promised). If… Read more »
I’m excited about electric cars full stop, regardless of where they get their electrons from. The reason I argue so often in favour of fuel cell cars is that there is a lot of innumerate and false ‘information’ out there, which I find annoying. Most of the critics aren’t in any way qualified as industrial chemists any more than I am, but fancy that on the basis of some poor arithmetic and sweeping and inaccurate generalisations they can dismiss the efforts of hundreds of experts in the field. To be plain I don’t know how the various technologies will play out, and neither do the car companies or bodies like the DOE, who are all pushing ahead with batteries and fuel cells, as well as things like on the move inductive charging, and seeing how things pan out. The perfect knowledge of how the technologies with progress relative to each other, and the ability to dismiss vast fields such as fuel cell technology with a wave of the hand and an assumption of superiority is AFAIK confined to the web, and doesn’t happen out there in the real world. I am sure that fuel cell technology has a big part… Read more »

Actually the $100K number does circulate and rhymes with the fact that “Soichiro Okudaira, chief officer of Toyota’s R&D group, told Automotive News Europe that lower production costs will make fuel-cell vehicles competitive with electric cars by 2030”.

When it come to hydrogen its all about “misleading impressions”, and clearly people are easily misled.

Indeed. And those who seek to dismiss fuel cell technology due to the belief that the future is batteries and nothing but batteries are certainly contributing an enormous amount of misleading and downright erroneous ‘information’.

Guess you really drank the kool-aid on that one! Don’t let the fact that even Toyota has basically relegated fuel cells to some distant future shake your believe the hydrogen hype.

Clearly you could teach the 500 engineers Toyota have working on it a thing or two, and the DOE and just about every other car manufacturer in the world.

Wait a minute! Toyota said $100,000? Or even $50,000? I don’t believe Toyota has announced any price at all for its fuel cell hydrogen car in 2015. Hyundai has announced that it will start leasing, in 2Q14, its car for $3,000 up front and $500 per month including unlimited fuel. That would tend to imply a $40,000 or less type of car. Perhaps $30,000. Toyota could not afford to price its car any higher. Toyota has all but insinuated that its fuel cell hydrogen car will be priced very close to a Prius. That suggests a starting price closer to $30,000, plus or minus. The issue here is simply charging stations: 68 or 100 in California will not prove to be attractive enough. They need at least double those numbers. Also, they need to spread it beyond California.

Yeah, I think VW is just throwing FUD out there to try to get people to slow down while they try to get their products to market. VW is behind the ball so they are casting FUD.


Maybe VWs cars will be less boring on the inside, by 2016?

Get out of the car then! 😉

Can’t. This mule is still sitting on my lap, and won’t move.

Then at least stop telling the mule your life story, if it is complaining about boredom……

The mule seems utterly facinated by analogue gauges in VW’s digital vehicles. I find this to be an unfortunate situation. Have not yet been able to convince it that digital displays are the future, and pointy needles in dials, are passé.

Your digital wristwatch is SO cool!
I wish I still had mine! 😉

I didnt make my point properly. what I meant was a 300% range inscrease over the typical 80 mile BEV already exists in Tesla cars.
I hope VW does what they say, I have owned several VW products and they have always been great. I would consider buying a Plug in or BEV VW !

VW is saying: By 2020, VW plans on catching up to where Tesla was with their Roadster in 2009, and with their Model S in 2012.

Sadly, this really does qualify as a legitimate sign of progress for a gas car company who also makes EV’s….

Unless they are planning on charging $70k or thereabout for a Golf, even a relatively high range electric one, your analogy is quite false.

Because the Model E that will precede VWs Tesla competitor by 3 years will cost $70K?

IIRC, a couple of years ago (MY2012), Nissan talked about the major improvement in range and the more efficient heating system in the upcoming Leaf. Sales fell off a cliff.

So, telling your potential customers if you want the 50% better model, wait until next year. Or 3 times better in 5 years. Just wait {and hold your breath} because it’s coming and we’ll be better than all those other companies who is already selling electric vehicles.

Correct me if I’m wrong but I live in Virginia and can’t currently go to a VW dealership and buy an BEV. Until then, all such reports from the manufacturer are taken w/ a grain of salt.

In contrast Tesla emailed me for an (amazing) test drive two weeks ago. BMW at the DC car show let me sit in the i3 and spend a long time answering all my questions, researchig the answers and showing me all the features they could without actually driving the car. I put actual faith in what these two manufacturers put out these days.

Looking forward to being able to do the same regarding VW 🙂

Odd though the behaviour may be, not everyone lives in the US.
Since I could go to the VW dealership to test drive a VW E-Up, it hardly seems necessary to take its existence with a grain of salt, even though it is not and never will be available in Virginia.

No loss. Folks in Virginia probably would not find the E-Up compelling enough to purchase.

Well, we certainly know who the VW loyalist is in our midst.

This sounds like the kind of FUD that existed in the computer world years ago. When a company didn’t have a competitive offering to sell now, they would make outrageous claims about what is coming next year. That causes customers to hold off. Sigh.

Ad hominem is the preserve of those bereft of substantial arguments.

Your handle would seem to accurately point to considerable bias, so your dismissal of other car companies’ efforts is hardly surprising.

For the record I have on many occasions welcomed the achievements of Tesla.
I don’t however feel that that obliges me to dismiss efforts by other companies, including but not limited to the Volkswagen group.

@Davemart: I would check my own tone before trolling others.

You have signally failed to do so.
What is your problem?

My problem people who systematically take arrogant tone with those whose opinions he doesn’t like while whining about personal attacks. I generally just don’t like arrogant hypocrites.

The one who started the snotty tone was yourself.

Get over yourself.
if you want arrogance, you have not got to go far to look.

Since you have nothing whatsoever to contribute save attitude, have a good day.

Dave, you’ve been unusually moody and antagonistic today. Take a break from the internet for a bit. It might help.

I have to agree with SeattleTeslaGuy, what VW is trying to achieve with this kind of announcement is shady at best.

Btw, Tesla is just as guilty as VW when it comes to wildly optimistic PR or other moves meant to dampen sales of competitors’ products.

“Model S half the cost of the Roadster!”
“Look Ma, battery swapping!”
“Model E, 200miles and SC, for 35k$!”

“New quick-charging standard soon!” “Now!”
“We’ll be #1 in EV(*)!” [fineprint (*)electrified, not electric]
“More range in 2016! 3x better by 2020!”

Sick of this. Dear manufacturers, we don’t need more hot air, ICEVs release plenty of that already. Sell us those PEVs already, or if you can’t, at the very least, stop spitting on those which do.

Tesla has a history of underselling since the Model S… I’ve found them far less guilty of overly optimistic or outlandish claims than other automakers.

What VW is doing isn’t ‘shady’. It is BAU. Everybody is doing it. And that inlcudes Tesla. It is normal marketing to talk about upcoming improvements to your product.

Well, I don’t think ad hominem is a reasonable way to describe my comments because I simply stated an opinion about there being a loyalist which to my way of thinking isn’t necessarily a negative.

And, yes, I do support Tesla but I am quite critical of their over hype. If you look at my past comments, you will see that to be true.

I am very glad the VW has EV products in the hopper but stand firmly behind my belief that the VW guy is engaging in FUD. When VW has products that are shipping, I will gladly discuss their merits and weaknesses.

We can’t all be TeslaGuys. 🙂

Well, maybe someday…

I agree with CSS. car companies need to stop all the press release and just build BEV and PHEV vehicles/ you cant drive a press release car to work everyday for 3 years like I have driven my LEAF
Skip the press release and just take your ready for production pre-prod model to all the top car mags
Build it and they will come

There is a pretty simple solution if you don’t like reading press releases or forward looking projections.

Simply look on the companies’ websites for cars for sale and ignore everything else.

Of course, there is no point in looking at sites like this then.

With Tesla’s market cap at $30K all VW and its supporters have is press releases and taunts, but it will have to do.

I support Tesla.

However, those who are immoderate in so doing and think that Tesla can do no wrong have not been checking Tesla’s European sales figures.

To be clear I think that Tesla has a great future.
More immediately however they project that European and Chinese sales will help to triple Tesla’s sales.

Here are the German figures for February:,templateId=raw,property=publicationFile.pdf/fz10_2014_02_pdf.pdf

And here are the French:

66 sales in Germany and 20 in France are not going to support Tesla’s sales projections, nor anything like it.
They are not alone, as European electric vehicle sales are poor to awful outside of Norway, and they do not mean that Tesla is anything but a great car, but the sales projections and maybe Tesla’s share price with it are in big, big trouble.

Don’t Germans pay ~$.34/kwh?

But the French pay ~12 US cents kwh or so, but the fish still ain’t biting.

Maybe they will eventually, but Tesla’s projected sales in Europe for 2014 are waste paper.

You support Tesla? Hmm, you sound more like a VW and hydrogen fan. Usually those are not the biggest Tesla supporters. We’ll see how those European sales will develop though. Tesla has just started there and every market has its own dynamics in terms of adoption curves.

Tesla though has projected massive sales in 2014.
If that is going to happen, there is no sign of it yet, and obviously as data comes in it will be compared to the projections for the year, just as good sales would be correctly interpreted as evidence of likely success.

As for your judgements about what I do and do not support, I am perfectly capable of saying what I support or do not myself, have no incentive at all to be disingenuous about it, and am best placed to know.

For someone who was complaining about what they took as my arrogance, prating on about what you assume to be other’s real opinions is a bit rich.

I support all electrification of vehicles, and don’t think that I know better than the thousands of engineers who are breaking ground in this field, with BEVs, PHEVs, and FCEVs.

Don’t read too much into sales figures of just two months. We’ll have to wait at least another 4 to get a useful idea of where Tesla Europe is going. Afaik they still have a waiting list and need to choose where to ship vehicles. So low figures might simply be an indication of where they are sending the available vehicles.

I want to believe but what the heck does this guy really know about potential battery improvements?

I certainly put no great store by the 300% projection, but the 50% one by 2016 is a different matter, and he knows about that because his technologists have told him that they are more or less ready for mass production, or they would not be talking about 2016!

Why would someone publicly state that:
1) We really want this product to sell
2) We’ll have something much better soon.

Casts some serious doubts on 1) doesn’t it?

Apparently you take Mr Neusser’s announcement seriously. Would buy an EV today, or rather wait?

To be clear, I think that VW’s publicity department is horrendous, and the FUD they have come out with for years is objectionable. Their technologists are a different matter though, and more particularly their accountants and production engineers, who have been steadily putting in place the groundwork for producing a host of drivetrains economically across their whole range. That, and China, has been the VW group’s emphasis over the last several years, so especially from the standpoint of the US they have appeared static. The position now is different, with their technological base ready to go, and their investment in North American production, their next major target for expansion, takes full advantage of their position as the most profitable major car manufacturer to deploy vast amounts of capital. They remind me a bit of Sauron! What has happened so far has been simply testing, and in that context the initial pricing and low volume projections of the E-Up and E-Golf make perfect sense, to get their lines running and real production of BEV vehicles ironing out the hiccups and paving the way for large scale production with their better battery pack when it is available. So I don’t much like… Read more »

Time will tell.
As I said earlier, I look forward to VW actually offering something to the masses (yes, to me that means in all 50 states of the US). We are only at the beginning of this (round of the) movement and with all new ones most of the drama occurs early on.

I was in the marked for getting the eGolf – after reading the stuff from Piech and Winterkorn provided with the Link above ( I will skip it for sure. I am going to Geneva next Monday (I live in Switzerland)and I will grab some VW guy – to tell them how their Management s****. Well then Mercedes B-Class ED or I3 from me – or bite the bullet and wait for the Tesla 3Gen.