VW Group: Solid-state batteries can deliver 30% more range, 12-minute charge times

Volkswagen Group on Monday held an online presentation outlining some of its battery plans through 2030.

Included in the plans is the further development of solid-state batteries, which the automaker sees as being ready for sale after 2025.

VW Group is working closely with American battery technology company QuantumScape on solid-state batteries and has successfully developed a proof of concept. VW Group is also a key investor in QuantumScape.

During Monday’s presentation, Frank Blome, head of battery cells at VW Group and a board member at QuantumScape, said solid-state batteries will have the ability to charge to 80% capacity in as little as 12 minutes. That’s about half the time required by the fastest liquid-type batteries in use today.

He also said a solid-state battery will be able to deliver about 30% more range than a liquid-type battery of the same size and weight, due to solid-state batteries being smaller and lighter. Another benefit is that solid-state batteries are less prone to overheating, making them safer.

Prior to the arrival of solid-state batteries, VW Group will introduce a new liquid-type battery cell whose design will be common to all of the automaker’s brands. The new design will start appearing in VW Group vehicles from 2023. VW Group’s goal is to have approximately 80% of its annual electric-vehicle production using a common cell design by 2030.

By moving to a common cell design, VW Group said it will be able to dramatically reduce complexity and cost. Together with improving production methods and increasing the use of recycling, the automaker estimates it will be able to reduce battery costs by up to 50%, or well below the $100 per kilowatt-hour mark that’s seen as crucial for making EVs affordable.

The common cell design will also offer the ideal conditions for the eventual transition to solid-state technology, VW Group said Monday.

VW Group also said it sees battery-electric vehicles in particular becoming the dominant type of vehicle in the not too distant future. In preparation for the expected increase in demand for batteries, the automaker is establishing new battery production facilities around the globe. It expects to have six supply sources of batteries in Europe alone by 2030, the first of which is the plant in Skelleftea, Sweden, operated by Northvolt. VW Group will also have its own battery plant in Salzgitter, Germany. Potential sites and partners are currently being considered for the other plants.

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Finally, VW Group during its presentation on Monday touched on plans to introduce bidirectional charging with solar energy management systems as early as 2022. In the future, an owner of an EV will be able to have their car charge up on solar energy during the day when electricity rates are low and then use this energy to power their home at night when rates are higher. It will be controlled through intelligent software systems so all the owner has to do is plug in the car. This will make you less reliant on grid power, helping you to save money.

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