By July, Volkswagen AG said it will make a decision on the batteries for its electric vehicles: either stay with the current lithium-ion technology, or move to new solid-state batteries.
QuantumScape has been developing this new battery technology, which is said to store energy better than lithium-ion (li-ion). This translates to a longer range for electric vehicles. Solid state batteries are also reportedly fire resistant.
Volkswagen officials talked about the advantages of solid state batteries last fall, acquiring a 5-percent holding of QuantumScape a month later.
“I see great potential in this new technology, possibly boosting the range to as much as 700 kilometers (430 miles),” VW Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said in November.
Much of the success of any electric vehicle lies within the capacity of its battery pack. Battery selection is especially important for VW right now, after the company announced that it’s working to become the market leader for electric vehicles by 2018.
At present, this will be an uphill battery for the carmaker, whose all-electric e-Golf has an EPA-rated range of 83 miles.
Tesla is currently the range leader for battery electric vehicles – its 85 kilowatt-hour dual motor Model S can go 253 miles on one charge.
Other brands are quickly catching up. Nissan is working on a 200+ mile battery, and Audi recently announced that its new R8 e-tron has a European-rated range of 280 miles.
Volkswagen has not yet disclosed when it would bring a solid state battery to market, if it chooses that option, and whether it will also use the tech for Porsche and Audi EVs.