In a partnership between the Volkswagen Group and Sanyo, one of the world's leading developers of rechargeable batteries, the two companies will work together on new and extremely efficient high-performance storage systems based on lithium-ion technology.
"Our focus in future," says Prof Martin Winterkorn, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, "will be directed at making electric automobiles alongside ones driven by more efficient combustion engines. Drivetrain electrification is the way forward if we wish to secure mobility in tomorrow's world. This will involve energy recovery. In order to do this, we need powerful energy storage systems at our disposal so this cooperation is an important step for us," Winterkorn adds.
Emissions-free travel using all-electric power is already possible, though only at limited speeds and over short distances. That makes it all the more important to develop new accumulators with the capacity, size, weight and cost attributes to enable them to be used more efficiently in tomorrow's automobiles.
Lithium-ion technology, already successfully used in communications electronics and portable computers, has the potential to satisfy even the exacting demands placed on electro-traction systems in motor vehicles.Back in March, at the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen showcased its Golf TDI Hybrid design study, which demonstrated just how much potential for energy reduction there is when you combine a high-tech diesel engine, electric-drive and the seven-speed DSG technology. Conceived as a powerful full-hybrid vehicle, the Golf TDI Hybrid can be operated using combustion-engine power only or a combination of combustion and electric-drive, or using E-drive (the powerful and energy-efficient combination of TDI technology and an electric motor). The A1 project quattro presented by Audi at the most recent Tokyo Motor Show features a powertrain already designed to cover a distance of 100km using this innovative storage method. The Group hopes to be able to employ lithium-ion technology in its first vehicles by 2010.