Volkswagen Turns To Quantum Computing For Electric Car Batteries


Technology begets technology

Whoever has the best battery wins. While that statement may be an oversimplification, since there are obviously a large number of other factors that come into play in the automobile business, it’s still a guiding truism. One of the reasons Tesla is where it is, for example, is because from the get-go they tackled how to make the most energy-dense lithium-ion (and cheapest) battery chemistry work in an automotive application.

Volkswagen has made it clear, however, that it intends to have a large presence in this space, and is now betting big on batteries. To get from where the company is now to where it needs to be,  it’s leaning on some cutting-edge technology: quantum computing. While they’ve been working on this for a while, tomorrow, at Europe’s Business Festival for Innovation and Digitization (CEBIT), it will publicly present its research work in this area and possibly put the fear of God into its competitor’s hearts.

Calculations in VW’s San Francisco CODE lab

The automaking behemoth is apparently working with both Google and D-Wave to further its quantum computing knowledge and abilities and having some success. Its scientists have already “…simulated key molecules on a quantum computer, including molecules such as lithium-hydrogen and carbon chains.” Eventually, it intends to “…simulate the chemical composition of a battery on the basis of different criteria such as weight reduction, maximum power density or cell assembly, and provide a design which could be used directly for production.” If successful,  it could add much need speed to the battery development process and, they say, reduce costs.

Pretty heady stuff. You can read more about the German automaker’s efforts in information technology and quantum computing in the official press blast below.



  • Volkswagen experts will simulate the chemical structure of batteries on quantum computers
  • Quantum Computing technology comes out of Volkswagen Group of America’s CODE Lab in San Francisco, California
  • The objective is the “tailor-made battery”, a configurable chemical blueprint ready for production
  • Volkswagen will present quantum computing research at CEBIT (June 12-15)

Wolfsburg/Herndon, June 8, 2018. For the first time, Volkswagen experts succeeded in simulating industrially relevant molecules using a quantum computer. This is especially important for the development of high-performance electric vehicle batteries, as the experts have successfully simulated molecules such as lithium-hydrogen and carbon chains. Now they are working on more complex chemical compounds. In the long term, they want to simulate the chemical structure of a complete electric vehicle battery on a quantum computer. Their objective is to develop a “tailor-made battery”, which will be a configurable chemical blueprint that is ready for production. Volkswagen will present its research work connected with quantum computing at the CEBIT technology show (Hanover, June 12-15).

“We are focusing on the modernization of IT systems throughout the Group”, says Martin Hofmann, CIO of the Volkswagen Group. “The objective is to intensify the digitalization of work processes – to make them simpler, more secure and more efficient and to support new business models. This is why we are combining our core task with the introduction of specific key technologies for Volkswagen. These include the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, as well as quantum computing.”

The objective is a “tailor-made battery”, a configurable blueprint

Using newly developed algorithms, Volkswagen experts have laid the foundation for simulating and optimizing the chemical structure of high-performance electric vehicle batteries on a quantum computer in San Francisco, California. In the long term, the quantum algorithm could simulate the chemical composition of a battery on the basis of different criteria such as weight reduction, maximum power density or cell assembly, and provide a design which could be used directly for production. This would help significantly accelerate the battery development process, which has been time-consuming and resource-intensive to date.

“We are working hard to develop the potential of quantum computers for Volkswagen. The simulation of electrochemical materials is an important project in this context,” says Florian Neukart, Principle Scientist at Volkswagen’s CODE Lab in San Francisco. “In this field, we are performing genuine pioneering work. We are convinced that commercially available quantum computers will open up previously unimaginable opportunities. We intend to acquire the specialist knowledge we need for this purpose now”, Neukart says.

IT is co-operating closely with Volkswagen Group Research on the simulation of electrochemical materials. Volkswagen experts have already successfully simulated key molecules on a quantum computer, including molecules such as lithium-hydrogen and carbon chains. They are now working on more complex chemical compounds. In the experts’ opinion, they are only at the beginning of their development work.

Volkswagen and quantum computing

Highly specialized IT experts from Volkswagen, including data scientists, computer linguists and software engineers, are working together at the IT labs in San Francisco and Munich to develop the potential of quantum computers for applications which will be beneficial for the company. The main focus is on the programming of algorithms on quantum computers. These are subject to different laws than conventional computers. In the field of quantum computing, Volkswagen Group is collaborating with Google and D-Wave, who provide the Volkswagen experts with access to their systems.

Source: Volkswagen

Categories: Battery Tech, Volkswagen

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37 Comments on "Volkswagen Turns To Quantum Computing For Electric Car Batteries"

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I have to continually laugh at VW- after intentionally misleading the public with the diesel scandal, they act like the cheating spouse- they’re only remorseful because they got caught. Now they double down on electric? While we all know that they’d still be pushing dirty diesels if they’d never been discovered..

I have to laugh at people who attribute continuity of consciousness to the mere constructed concept of a “company”. There is not much left of the Dieselgate-era administration. So what leads you to “know that they’d still be pushing dirty diesels”? And who is “they” anyway?

Mueller at Geneva:

Well, if “they” didn’t get caught, then “they” wouldn’t have lost “their” jobs and things would be going exactly the same as they were going before.
The management only changed because they got caught. If you don’t think that is the case, then fair enough, but it seems pretty obvious.
The EV push would happen as the costs continue to reduce and the obvious advantages of EV start to become more obvious and desirable.

Such a predictable reply!

So. . this is to get a new chemistry to fine tune current lithium batteries. . not anything related to solid state batteries.

Hope solid state batteries is where they will focus their attention after this.

There are of course a need for custom lithium batteries, just right for a certain application. . maybe even create a large price drop, by using cheaper more common materials.

Quantum computing will have a huge impact on the medical industry (and chemistry too), where they can get massive computational power, used in projects like Folding @Home where they work on disease research that simulates protein folding, computational drug design, and other types of molecular dynamics.

To be fair, quantum computing could be used to tweak the chemistry of solid state batteries, just as it can be used to tweak the chemistry of current li-ion battery cells.

But in both cases, an actual human being has to come up with the “base model” design to use for a computer simulation, whether that’s run on an ordinary computer or a quantum computer.

Any type of computer simulation, using a quantum computer or not, is at best a tool to help humans find a optimal solution within the parameters selected by the programmers. Unlike a human, the computer isn’t capable of original thought or creative thinking.

About as close to vaporware as you can get, “we built it in a computer, so it must be real”.
Hopefully it plays out and we get some rapid advancement.

In my computer I created a city from nothing and as mayor I balanced the budget, had a surplus, and my approvals are through the roof. I’m the best candidate for mayor, vote for Lawrence.

“Don’t buy an EV yet and don’t buy a Tesla because we will offer more range, lighter weight, and better everything. Three years from now.” Which they’ve been saying for quite a few years. Yet all that they have is the eGolf. They’re stalling.

Geez… first I thought this was going to be an update on Quantumscape.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

They need the “Quantum Computing” to compile a better more undetectable “Defeat Device” software/firmware for their cars.

VW = Dirty filthy lying cheats!!!

The most powerful rendering machine on earth…

LOL! That’s the most clever comment in this discussion.

Yes, quantum computing will enable VW to make the most advanced batteries… in a computer simulation.

But real EVs don’t run on virtual batteries; mere computer simulations of batteries. They need actual real-world batteries to power them.

This reminds me of a BlackAdder scene: BlackAdder has accidentally burnt the only copy of the first dictionary ever written, and to stall the author while he tries to rewrite it, he says “No, you can’t have it. I know I said Monday, but I want Baldrick to read it, which, unfortunately will mean teaching him to read, which will take about ten years; but time well spent, I think, because it’s such a very good dictionary.”

Honestly, if I saw an article here quoting a VW release chest-thumping over their research into rounder tires which will make EVs mass market viable, I wouldn’t know if it was a joke.

Tesla makes their vaporware work a lot better without any technobabble. Just show a few rolling chassis on a stage and BAM- hundreds of thousands of $1000 deposits roll in for something that a few years later you still can’t buy!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

VW did the same thing. Had a rolling chassis on the streets (couldn’t go over 25mph) and BABLAM!
Still nothing to show for it.

That’s becasue the time they said it would be available haven’t passed yet.

…except that they’re selling like hotcakes now. You’re an idiot for even trying to imply that a car that already has – what’s it up to now? – 35,000 units on the road is vaporware. And that’s still less than 10% of the current reservations.

I just put my order in for an AWD version of the vaporware car you cannot buy last Saturday.

Kubel get OWNED!!!


“Tesla makes their vaporware… $1000 deposits roll in for something that a few years later you still can’t buy!”

About 35,000 people are now driving a car (the Tesla Model 3) which you are calling “vaporware”.

Your dictionary is broken, dude. And you’re playing a broken record. Nudge the needle, already.

Hey, maybe he’s reservation holder 400,000 or maybe waiting for the $35k base model. No, he can’t buy yet based on those two criteria, but at least he can see Tesla has actually made the Model 3. In the same time frame, arguably the world’s largest automaker, VW has the eGolf. Not the ID series, not a battery factory, nothing.
I know VW will get there, but if they are just now using quantum computers (sounds like buzz word play if I ever heard it) to figure out their battery chemistry, then it sounds like they still have a long way to go.

They will just buy battery cells from LG, Samsung etc at this phase. The quantum computer stuff is coming to market around 2023-25 if everything goes as planned.

Did you just make this up? Great


The winner is the one who *Produces* batteries. But it takes quite more faith in EV than running simulations on a computer, even a state of the buzz computer!

That is the key point. It does not matter how good a design of a battery the computer comes up with if you don’t figure out how to make it.

Heck, I use to read chemistry journals where they showed a new molecule is finally being made, but the structure was known for decades, it took that long to figure how to make it.

It’s kind of a dead giveaway when the dude is holding the dry erase marker backwards….

Hey, you are right! These are marketing drones, not researchers.

Computer programmers have a saying: “Garbage in, garbage out”. That is to say, the output of a computer program only has meaning if the input does. Quantum computing is a tool. It offers great potential, but only if it is used well.

Quantum computing may well offer a path to faster improvements in the sort of year-on-year tweaking of cell chemistry that battery cell makers are doing. Quantum computing offers a fast way to do endless variations on a theme, and — in theory, altho not necessarily in practice — identify the ones with best potential for improvement.

But what quantum computing will not help with is in dreaming up entirely different, radically improved ways to make electrochemical cells or other electrical storage systems. Endless variations on a theme, yes; but quantum computing will never invent an entirely new theme!

True, quantum computing does not invent anything but if a human does it takes matter of days to check it out if the invention works or not. Other methods may take months and years so this will really accelerate the development like anything before.

Did they say ‘Quantum Computing’.
I believe its still in laboratory only. How come VW got it.
Seems the bluff that VW can make is becoming endless.

Soon they will claim that they will bring rare earth metals from Pluto and make electric vehicles.

No, there are now a few machines that can be bought. They are still limited in what they can do, but they are available. See: D-Wave.

Didn’t VW use quantum consciousness to pass diesel emissions tests? 🙂

I’m not sure if you all understand that quantum computing is still a lab experiment hoping to happen. Not that it won’t, but it is most likely 10 years away, possibly more. D Wave is not a full blown quantum computer, but a specialized limited machine that only performs specific algorithms, not general ones. It’s in the commercial interest of any company developing quantum computing to allow special access to industry because beyond the quantum computer itself, the methods and techniques of how to use one still needs to be developed. I would take this kind of plug, no matter who makes one, as PR to pump up their image. It will be interesting to know what they will present at CEBIT, and what it means to a peer review. Look for publications that will interpret the findings for the rest of us. In all fairness one has to jump into the game to be part of the innovation even if PR pushes like this are part of the game. I think quantum will take a little longer to make an impact in any industry. I hope it comes to fruition, but it may take a while longer than what… Read more »