Currently, Volkswagen electric vehicles, as well as every other electric vehicle, use conventional lithium-ion battery technology.
On the energy storage level, practically the only thing that separates the Volkswagen electric vehicles from Tesla Motors electric vehicles, such as the e-Golf and Model S is the configuration and capacity of the lithium-on battery pack. Indeed, the lithium-ion battery pack is no longer a novel addition to electric vehicles, but neither is it cutting-edge-technology, and there hasn’t been much advancement in lithium-ion battery technology in years. As for what the “next big thing” in lithium-ion battery technology will be, seems to be up in the air. Some advancement has been made in solid-state lithium-ion batteries, as well as lithium-sulfur batteries, but nothing more than can be substantiated by PowerPoint presentations, and certainly nothing commercialized, which makes this next announcement all the more intriguing.
Future Volkswagen electric vehicles, according to the company, are expected to triple in range, thanks to the development of a new lithium battery. Volkswagen’s recent investment in a little-known energy storage company in San Jose, California, QuantumScape, seems to solidify rumors that Volkswagen’s stumbled upon something big. The only thing is, we have no idea what. QuantumScape’s website is not helpful, as the screenshot above shows the entire website, so we’re still in the dark on what Volkswagen electric vehicles and QuantumScape have to do with each other, and what exactly QuantumScape is offering.
On CleanTechnica, author Tina Casey offers up a convincing theory, based on some anonymous tips and informers (You can read the whole story, there). QuantumScape’s mystery lithium battery technology is based on research done at Stanford University by Friedrich Prinz, and the company itself is CEO’d by a Stanford graduate, Jagdeep Singh. As it turns out, Prinz was working on green-tech wünder-materials perovskite and antiperovskite (the synthetic version). Like graphene, natural and synthetic perovskite are believed to be able to revolutionize photovoltaic solar power and hydrogen fuel cells. Prinz’ application of perovskite to solid-state lithium-ion battery technology could do the same, and could be seen in the newest upcoming Volkswagen electric vehicles. The question is, “Can Volkswagen and QuantumScape deliver?” I, for one, wouldn’t mind a 270-mile range Volkswagen e-Golf.