Though Volkswagen has taken its time bringing its first electric vehicles to market, the German auto giant is slowly building steam towards a diversified plug-in lineup. Volkswagen’s Chairman of the Board Dr. Martin Winterkorn remarked during a Stanford award ceremony that he sees “great potential” in the ability of solid-state batteries to provide more than 400 miles of range per charge.
Having such range would pretty much eliminate any sense of range anxiety, with the ability to bring 1,000 Wh/l to EVs making them rival the range of many conventional cars. Current battery energy is in the area of just 260 Wh/l, so Winterkorn is looking at nearly quadrupling the density of the current crop of battery tech. The 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf is rated at just 83 miles of range in the U.S., even though it’s among the most efficient EVs you can buy right now (at least if you live in the right place).
ANother key factor will be bringing down the costs, with the VW exec saying that lowering the price to about 100 euros ($124) per kWh would “…would significantly increase the market potential of electric vehicles.” Solid-state batteries could be a key factor in reducing costs and customer concerns as well, with the solid electrolyte being much less likely to catch fire compared to the liquid solutions many EVs currently use. Toyota claims to already have a 400 Wh/l battery pack, and other
Volkswagen execs have said that the automaker will have 300+ mile EVs by the end of 2017. Solid-state batteries aren’t the only technology being researched either, as Volkswagen has also taken an interest in lithium-air batteries that already rival the best lithium-ion batteries on the market. Lower vehicle weights are also a big part of Volkswagen’s green car world domination plan, which calls for 20 new plug-in cars in the Chinese market alone, and other markets will inevitably benefit as well. Toyota also sees a lot of promise in both solid-state and lithium-air batteries, which it says could come to market as soon as 2020.
If the promise of solid-state batteries is real, Vdub could become a potent market force in the world of electrified vehicles.