Volkswagen: Solid-State Batteries Have Potential For 1,000 Wh/l – 435-Mile Range

NOV 23 2014 BY MARK KANE 44

Volkswagen Golf GTE

Volkswagen Golf GTE

Volkswagen e-Golf

Volkswagen e-Golf

Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen, recently stated that solid-state batteries have tremendous potential for electric cars.

Volkswagen expects that the new chemistry will allow to more than triple the range of electric cars to up to 700 km (435 miles).

1000 Wh/l is the target (well above the current 380 Wh/l), but there is no indication of Wh/kg, so we don’t know how to evaluate Winterkorn’s statement. Another target is a price of 100 euros per kWh.

Here are the statements made by Winterkorn at Stanford University during the award of the third Science Award for Electrochemistry to Dr. Vanessa Wood.

  • Take energy density, for example:

Increasing the specific energy of lithium-ion cells to as much as 380 Wh/l will reduce driving range drawbacks.

With a higher nickel content, much more will be feasible.

But we also need to intensify basic research into batteries with an even greater specific energy, such as solid-state batteries.

I see great potential in this new technology, possibly boosting the range to as much as 700 kilometers (1,000 Wh/l).

  • Another matter is cost:

Lowering the price of battery cells to 100 euros per kilowatt hour would significantly increase the market potential of electric vehicles.

  • And if we also improve reliability and battery lifespan, customer acceptance will grow fast.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are reaching out to the world of science to make all this happen.

Source: Green Car Congress

Categories: Battery Tech, Volkswagen

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44 Comments on "Volkswagen: Solid-State Batteries Have Potential For 1,000 Wh/l – 435-Mile Range"

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I fully agree with his believe that we (plural) need more basic battery research to improve EV viability.

No breakthroughs are needed for motors, controllers, instrumentation, or even light weight body build. All of these are well understood any anyone can build them. It’s all about the battery in terms of volume, weight and capacity.

I’m sure many anti-government types would disagree, but I do believe DOE and EU grants for basic battery research is money well spent to create new knowledge. Some efforts will suceed and some won’t, but that’s the nature of research.

Until then a 20+ kWh Passat with a range extender would be nice.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Old news, and as any Silicon Valley billionaire could tell you, the perfect is the enemy of the good. When VW gets exclusive patents or licenses for this tech and they can demonstrate 1000 cells produced by robots and testable to destruction, maybe then Tesla might worry, if the many other promising battery techs don’t pan out.

Well, Tesla won’t worry: Elon has stated that they both want to see other manufacturers step up and help with converting from fossil fuel-based to electric mobility on the global scale and that they are prepared to switch battery tech when something better comes along.

Old news maybe, but the points are still right.

And Tesla is not immune from the same cost issues. They can build a 250 mile EV at $80k, but have not found a way to make it affordable – yet.

For the record, I sincerely hope they do find a way (Gigafactory is part of it). But we must be rational when looking at the challenges.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Indeed, but the same company that put out the Phaeton has the gall to balk at developing a high-end EV. Just seems silly. Where’s Piëch when you need him?

AHgreed, here and your reference to perfection above.
Market Leading is the enemy of the Big Old Industrial Machine.

Why release 100km PHEVs and 100mi EVs now, when in a couple years battery tech improves, we offer them Then, and give customers a reason to trade-in.

Not perfection, of course, but Gawd Forbid that we up the ante even a Tiny Bit!
Remember the ‘Detroit can make 50mpg cars Now!’ conspiracy theorists of the 70’s? nm..
Go VW.

Without Tesla in the game I doubt we were talking about new battery technology and most of car companies talking about EVs projects.

Electric Car Guest Drive

1,000 Wh/l 435-Mile Range batteries at any reasonable cost would leave very little opportunity for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to succeed in the marketplace.

There is quite literally nothing that can create demand for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. You can’t force people to buy things which cost more and have no advantages, but only disadvantages, compared to the competition.

There is no tech advance which can make hydrogen fuel, or cars which depend on such fuel, either affordable or practical. All the promotion of “fool cell” cars by Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai cannot change that by even one iota. The basic laws of both physics and economics prevent it.

True they have to give them away.

The general consumer looks at EVs as the same. Costing more for no additional benefit. Many buy plug ins to feed their own ego or as a hobby or as some small personal attempt to save the world. But make EVs with substantial range for less than the cost of an ICE and you capture the minds of consumers on the whole.

I think if batteries get to 100/kWh and cars can charge on DC fast charging infrastructure that is prevalent, you can sell them at a rate of nearly half that of ICE. Meaning a 27,000 Chevy Cruze ICE per month, 13,000 Volt Erev or Sonic EV per month. As long as the price is less than a comparable ICE.

That is mosly because markets are filled with overpriced rubbish such as Nissan LEAF or Chevy Volt that no one would never want even in greatly subsidized price.

H2 already has very little room to succeed in the consumer auto market.

The big market for H2 is backup power and rarely used peaking power (e.g. <500 hours a year).

Hydrogen cannot directly compete as energy storage. However, it is possible to synthetize from that hydrogen methane and from that methane it is possible to synthetize Jet fuel or Diesel. And therefore hydrogen manufacturing has good potential applications as a clean transportation fuel.

Synthetic Diesel is always cheaper as a transportation fuel than hydrogen.

Why is hydrogen unable to compete for energy storage? Efficiency? That barely matters for backup and rarely used peaking. Capital cost and maintenance are the main cost drivers for those markets.

VW build no batteries, they have no idea what they are talking, only want to say: “future electric cars will be great, don’t buy one yet”

I think Volkswagen (as well as all other car manufacturers) keep a close eye on the battery market and current research. They probably know a lot more than you and I do.

Indeed. A guy with Winterkorn’s credentials and connections is not somebody who you can expect to talk out of his a$$ for the sake of a headline (I love you Elon, but still …)


“Prof Dr”

Germans love titles.

Yes battery research is one of the best investment we can do. In the same time though we should also not forget capacitors research, fly wheel research, flow cell research and even more exotic energy storage research. Things like superconductor magnetic energy storage (SMES) for very high power applications like planes or even a rocket first stage octogon electrofan booster (my present mind game). There are also completely out of the blue things like photonic storage boxes that store energy between recently discovered 100% mirrors. In that case charging would be with a laser and the following light withdrawal would have to be converted into electricity. That could be with the equivalent of a high intensity solar panel. The light could also be used directly to heat the compressed air of a combined electrofan compressor to achieve supersonic flight. It could also replace the electric arc in an electric rocket engine which would then become a photonic rocket energized by stored laser light. Another system of interest is the Hafnium isomer generator that turns stored energy into gamma raws that again could be turned into electricity or be used directly.

No arguement with any of your proposed ideas, but battery chemistry needs to be high on the funding priority list because the application is immediate and the impact is high.

Sure battery is most important but some other doors should be opened as well for more perspective. Something can’t be with zero research.

There are already two solid state battery companies that are claiming over 1000Wh/l already – Sakti3 (1100Wh/l) and Solid Energy (1337Wh/l).

They both are projecting they’ll start smaller scale commercial production in 2016-2018 time frame, but in the consumer electronics range, before going full-scale with EVs.

SolidEnergy even talked about 800Wh/kg too ( A battery that had 800Wh/kg and 1300Wh/l would surely be a monumental feat. But like Elon says, the battery industry is filled with powerpoints and bullshit, and little in the way of actual cells.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Indeed. Provide manufacturers with 1000 cells, produced by robots in a massively-scalable process, that they can test to destruction. Anything else is premature at best, vapor or scam at worst.

The units Wh/l are wrong for specific energy. It should be energy density. Specific energy would be measured in Wh/kg.

The Panasonic cells that Tesla is currently using are around 665 Wh/l, so this is about 50% better. If these new cells require less cooling then the pack difference could be even larger.

Of course, I’ll believe in this when I can see the cells demonstrated. I wonder what the recharge time would be? Solid state batteries often have problems with that.

Isn’t it simply volumetric vs gravimetric energy density?

RTG + Lithium Pack = Self Charging EV…

Works for spacecraft… Does not work, politically. 🙁

It’s also too expensive. Suitable RTG isotopes are in short supply.

Thorium is cheap.

…and plentiful.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

I don’t think a LFTR would scale down that small, and it DEFINITELY wouldn’t be politically possible. More’s the pity.

It would be nice to see LFTR tanks as Bolo 1.0s, assuming they could scale a couple megawatts down into the volume of a jet turbine.. Railgun, energy weapon(s), silent drive..

Actually RTGs are good politically. E.g. Curiosity and all deep space probes are running with RTG’s. Basic problem is however that the cost of pure Plutonium 238 is quite considerable and there is no manufacturing capacity for Pu-238, because it is only needed in space science applications.

However, radio thermal source + striling generator is more efficient than thermoelectric generation. Also there are new interesting technologies at basic research stage, that it is possible to convert beta decay directly into electricity with 70 % efficiency. This could make possible it possible to make non-rechargeable batteries that can last years, such as in Terminator movies.

Battery technology we have these days is enough, we just need little improvements years over years. What is the real problem : the cost.

Sure but the cost is somewhat related to the energy density. If you can reach 85kWh with significantly less battery material it is likely also cheaper to do so, unless the new material requires some extraordinary expensive element.

it’s all a big joke. Battery that can power an EV for more then 700 km are already in the market since few years and available for selected costumers as, for sure, VW. I demonstarte 2 years ago that a fully functional EV can run more then 800 km with one charge at high speed. Moreover , the price is just 160 USD for 1 Kwh.

Yes, indeed. Except for the fact that batteries have to live up to a lot of other issues besides just raw range. They have to work at the correct temperatures. They have to be able to endure 1000’s of recharge cycles. They have to be able to endure 10 calendar years or more. They have to be able to have the power density to supply the needed amps or endure the regenerative breaking. They also have to be cost-effective.

It has been possible for years to make a battery that does what you say. But none of them have been able to do ALL of the things that an EV battery needs.

Rechargeable Batteries for Transportation and Grid: What’s Possible?

This video on battery research by professor Yi Cui, Stanford University, is very interesting, it gave me an insight into the workings of high energy density batteries using silicon and sulphur etc. – The problems and solutions discovered –
Particularly the coated nano wires and yoke/shell technology providing solutions for use in very high energy density batteries using Silicon, with tested stability to 6,000 cycles.
It’s long at 55mins. but well worth it.
You can jump to 15:30 (New solutions for Battery Technology) if you’re short on time.

Tesla has every reason to explore and pursue new battery technologies. SpaceX is the perfect reason…a mission to Mars is the reason, and by the way, electric transportation, a self sufficient electric grid are all just beneficiaries.

The key statement (from above) …

“1000 Wh/l is the target (well above the current 380 Wh/l), but there is no indication of Wh/kg, so we don’t know how to evaluate Winterkorn’s statement.” – Mark Kane

Great point Mark; without data on “l/kg” (density) for Li-ion cells and the l/kg for solid-state cell material, no comparisons, or claims to performance can be made.

It is more usual to specify gravimetric energy density rather than volumetric energy density but from practicality in vehicles viewpoint both are important. Less volume means less problems to integrate in vehicles which makes for lower cost as well as opportunities for longer range. The fact that from an efficiency viewpoint mass isn’t all that important for EVs is another indication that volume is at least as important.

Anyway, one third of the volume is indicative of massive improvements in gravimetric energy density as well.

Problem I had with the comments made by VW is that it seems as if he is saying we need to imrove batteries, and we will, using solid state technology, but doesn’t give much information as to how…


Tesla Roadster with its new battery pack has rated range 400 miles. So definitely it is possible, but VW has zero interests to get electric cars on markets TODAY. Therefore they have decided that it is better to invent excuses why electric cars are not yet ready for mainstream rather than invest on electric car development.