VW and Sanyo in the circuit

  • 10-Jun-2008 02:59 EDT
VW and Sanyo 1.jpg
Lithium-ion batteries will be developed by VW in partnership with Sanyo for potential application in production vehicles similar to this Golf TDI hybrid concept.

As pressure mounts on OEMs and suppliers to develop more practical and longer range electric vehicles, Volkswagen has announced that it is to work with Sanyo on high-performance energy-storage systems.

In an announcement at VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters, the company’s CEO, Prof. Martin Winterkorn, stated that the systems would be based on lithium-ion technology. “Our focus in future will be directed more strongly at making electrically powered automobiles alongside ones driven by more efficient combustion engines,” he said. “Drivetrain electrification is the way forward if we wish to secure mobility in tomorrow’s world. This will involve energy recovery.”

But Winterkorn warned that powerful energy-storage systems were vital for success and that the outcome of development work had to meet customer demands.

He described the cooperation with Sanyo—one of the world’s leading developers of rechargeable batteries—as an “important step” for VW. It was essential, he said, to develop new accumulators with the capacity, size, weight, and cost attributes that would enable them to be used more efficiently in tomorrow’s automobiles—and that lithium-ion technology (used extensively in communications electronics and portable computers) had the potential to meet automotive needs and expectations for drive systems.

VW is focusing increasingly sharply on energy-efficient vehicles and has widened its BlueMotion technology applications designed to lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Increasing attention is also being paid to the potential of diesel hybrid drive. The VW Golf TDI Hybrid concept revealed last year is a serious design study incorporating a range of technologies including a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox. The concept is a full-hybrid that can be operated using the diesel engine alone, a combination of combustion and electric drive, or just electric drive alone.

Audi’s A1 project quattro, unveiled at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, incorporates a powertrain using lithium-ion technology providing a 100-km (62-mi) range in zero-emissions electric mode. Production applications of high-efficiency lithium-ion technology in VW Group products may be seen within two years.
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