Volkswagen Developing Battery Technology With Up to 4 Times the Energy Density of Today’s Tech

MAR 13 2014 BY MARK KANE 25

Volkswagen e-up!

Volkswagen e-up!

According to The Telegraph report on Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Volkswagen board member responsible for development, we should expect more energy in future battery packs from VW, which is in line with our previous report on 50% more range by 2015 and 300% more range by 2020.

The Telegraph story, which was found first by our readers in comments (thanks!!!), seems to be more complete because its includes some additional numbers.

Volkswagen is testing lithium-ion cells from its current supplier Sanyo (Sanyo belongs to Panasonic), which enables the automaker to build 37 kWh battery packs. This is ~50% more than in the e-Golf.

Separately, Volkswagen is preparing 80 kWh units, but this is internal VW development: “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.

We don’t know exactly which type of battery chemistry Volkswagen is using, but perhaps its solid-state or even lithium-air.

Source: The Telegraph

Categories: Battery Tech, Volkswagen


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25 Comments on "Volkswagen Developing Battery Technology With Up to 4 Times the Energy Density of Today’s Tech"

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Now build a f’n Electric Super Beetle with a 200+ mile range and some flavor of DC Fast Charge. 🙁

Battery Power != Energy Density
Your headline is perhaps incorrect then. That is, if the guy knows what he is talking about and I’m not too sure about that, since it is VW and EV 😉
3-4 times the power with >3 times the capacity wouldn’t be that amazing however.

I just found this article and, based on the headline, was tingling with anticipation.

But as Thomas notes, the headline isn’t just misleading, it is flat out wrong. It is easy to get to a 80 kWh battery simply by adding more and/or larger cells of the same design.

But that doesn’t change the density. Density means kWh per unit *something* be mass, volume or cost.

Unless you show me that the larger capacity battery is actually more “dense” in terms of kWh per *something* all VW has done is add more cells. I can do that in my garage.

Yeah, sure . . . it is VW, a laggard in putting out a plug-in, that is going to come through with a Lithium-air battery technology breakthrough.

Sounds more like FUD to get people to wonder if they should wait.

Will we ever be able to hear about promising EV developments by a new contender in the market without having to hear “yeah but they’re behind XXX by XXX years”. So what?? I also wish every automaker had a dozen mass produced PEV models to choose from, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna complain about every intermediate step along the way there because we’re not there yet.

Like Spec9, I also think of VW’s PR as a delaying tactic.

This is consistent with the group’s lobbying efforts against CHAdeMO, even though it has nothing better to offer, and no intention of installing quick-chargers itself.
Spread anti-EV FUD, sell diesels, make more money.

Which sane company would keep trumpeting “We’ll have something better next year”, if only to distract for its current less-attractive products, and most importantly, cause potential customers to hold off or dismiss the technology as immature?

We’ve been there before…

Without stereotyping too much, I think its fair to say that German chemists, physicists, and engineers have a excellent reputation for innovation. No one knows where in the world the next battery breakthrough will come, but I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility that it could come from Germany. No doubt VW is funding some battery development efforts. They clearly hope to leap forward with better technology. They might succeed.

I wasn’t at all commenting on where the next big thing might come from. We don’t know, and neither does VW.

I was criticizing VW, and Mr Neusser in particular, for making unverifiable claims which can only dampen current EV sales.

I don’t think neither Mr Neusser nor the VW group are stupid enough to Osborne themselves. Their competition is ahead (in particular Nissan, Tesla and now BMW), so the goal must be to try and buy time by perpetuating FUD about EVs in general.

VW sells the e-up now with a CCS fast charge port, will be selling the eGolf later this year, and was showing off their own, tesla-like DC charging station at Geneva last week.

Both Nissan and Tesla also talk about exciting improvements to their technology in coming years. Why is it okay for them to do this and not VW? Right, I forgot, is full of enthusiasts who want all or nothing and aren’t satisfied with anybody other than Nissan and Tesla.

The form factor of the pack looks surprisingly similar to the Spark EV’s pack. It is obviously designed to fit underneath the body of a gas car with an exhaust channel. Which brings up a point I’ve often wondered about. People always want the PHEV cars (Ford Energi, for example)yet they have to have room for that exhaust channel.

Yeah, the most impressive thing VW has done is design a nice battery pack which puts the battery down low but efficiently uses the space available beneath the passenger seats and in the tunnel. If the Volt did this, they could have 5 passengers instead of the massive hump that limits it to 4.

Two adults barely fit in the back of my Volt. I would only cram three in there if they were people I hate. 😉

IMHO, to properly seat five, the Volt needs a hatchback-style body with an optional third row of rear facing seats … ala Model S.

Open-Mind, I put two people in the back of my Volt every Tuesday and it is a tight fit, as you note. Even if the Volt got rid of the hump between the back seats by breaking up the T-Battery, there wouldn’t be enough shoulder room to fit three adults back there.
But you could fit 3 kids, and I think that is what most Volt owners would like to see. It is too bad that the Volt doesn’t have a way to put a child seat securely over the top of the hump.
What it comes down to is that most people wish the Volt was a mid-sized car, not a compact. But there is a substantial sub-set that wishes it stay as small or go smaller and even more efficient. I think GM should either do both or work to please the larger of the two groups.

To me, it looks like VW just copied Nissan’s design. Not just the specs (which are almost identical), but down to the layout of the battery.
Here’s the Leaf’s:×365.jpg

Keep in mind that the Volt also needs a gas tank, where this car does not.

So what battery tech does VW have that Tesla doesn’t??

They are preparing an 80 kwh pack?? So what.

Tesla already has an 85 kwh pack IN PRODUCTION.

They don’t say anything about size or weight of the 80 kWh pack. Tesla already makes an 85 kWh pack using the same supplier, so I don’t see any magic new technology yet.

I wonder if the 80 kWh pack is for the R8 E-tron?

All claims about new battery prototypes are 100 % BS.

We just cannot predict what technology will win. And moreover, battery technology does not evolve in research labs, but it is evolving via mass production. This is the main reason why Tesla gigafactory is so important that it can cut the costs of batteries with scale benefits.

“All claims about new battery prototypes are 100% BS.”

Yup. This approach makes dealing with “?x better battery announced” headlines much easier. I have my own ideas about which battery chemistry is next, but until its in cars and people can drive them on a daily basis, its more or less vaporware.

Guys, the answer is lithium sulfur. Lol

Other sources are reporting VW using Lithium Air. *shrugs*

Time will tell…

Smaller, lighter, cheaper. It’s fixing to get good! Run a google search on Toshiba SCIB. They make a 27.6 V, 40 Ah Module. Just think of the high voltage pack one could make with those!

“Hey Bill, did you hear about the new VW EV battery that going to run on Air?”

“Well now I’m confused, I read last week it was gonna run on sulfur and the week before last their new EV would use Lithium Ions and Carbon.” “By The Way, didn’t they sell a record number of diesels last year?”

VW does a good job of developing auto traction batteries and future EVs on paper. In fact I think they have the best PR in the auto business. Somehow they manage to make the press at least once a week with something new; but notice, if it aint an ICE, it’s in the future.

I believe the best bet on the future better battery is JCESR not VW and my bet is on Tesla building the new chemistry at their Giga Factory’
BTW, the chemistry will not be Li; it will be Mg and/or Al based. Li batteries are interim devices. see

Elon said they are working on an 115 KWh pack.

The only bad thing about all this hype is the uninitiated sit on the side lines with regard to EVs becasue they think the next big breakthrough is right around the corner…even if it is, that corner is biiiiig and success in the lab can take years to hit production (and don’t get me started on the inevitable production delays for supplies, raw materials, etc.). Heck, I leased my Volt for three years to try and future proof myself somewhat. My lease will be up in 16 months and I’m not seeing anything on the horizin in that time frame that is really any better than Volt 1.0…even Volt 2.0 is likely to just be a modest evolution (IMO).