Audi Q8 concept - photo from Electric Vehicle News
Audi Q8 concept – photo from Electric Vehicle News

One of the biggest fears of EV owners is getting stuck in the middle of nowhere with a dead battery.  Volkswagen, the makers of Audi, plan to address this by a new all-electric Audi Q8 sports SUV, with 700 km (435 mi.) range on a full charge.

This is easier said than done, after all Tesla’s class leading Model S has a range of 442 km (275 mi).  So the ace up the German automaker’s sleeve is a big secret.  Or maybe not, after its Chairman, Dr. Martin Winterkorn, hinted at the battery technology that they may use to reach that range.

During the 3rd Science Award for Electrochemistry at Stanford University, Dr. Winterkorn said he was optimistic about the potential of solid-state batteries,

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).

What this means is that current lithium-ion batteries will just not cut it.  At an energy density of 260 Wh/l, the range of the Q8 will only be 190 kilometers (118 miles).  The only way of extending the range is by using solid state batteries, or batteries with both solid electrodes and solid electrolytes.  In this way, energy density reaches a whopping 1,000 Wh/l, a 300% or so increase in capacity with the same sized battery.

Whether the technology boosts the range by that much or not is something that we won’t see just yet.  The Audi Q8 EV is set to be released in 2017 yet.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Let me grab my ‘old’ theory (and blow the dust off).  I have advocated a simple, onboard (air cooled) TDI Diesel “GENERATOR”, running at virtually ‘idle’ (connected through an automatic transfer switch (ATS)), AND with an ‘extended’ driving range limited only by the size of the (petroleum or non-petroleum based) fuel tank.  And get this, though quickly becoming the worst car company in the world, GM, uses this theory in their XLR and Volt models, but they call it an “extender” (and it’s a gasoline generator because of Consumer Diesel Fear).

    With some knowledge of water engineering and irrigation (Water in the West), I’m a serious advocate of 100% Veggie Diesel fuel refinement, particularly since the Diesel was designed to use peanut oil as it’s principle fuel.  With Elon Musk’s Tesla completely ignoring the Diesel, it’s ironic that though Nikola Tesla and Rudolph Diesel were born only two years apart, if either where alive today – our collective heads would be spinning.  Just think of how today’s greatest minds and/or ‘innovators’, pale by comparison, as they have (almost accidentally) developed today’s “Engine Motors” and Domestic Diesel (versus ‘Commercial Diesel’) technologies – but still can’t see their way clear enough to merge those two technologies.

    If I had to explain this to an Alien, it’s so simple, I’d be embarrassed.

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