Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Volkswagen’s head of powertrain development, thinks that electric cars with over 300 miles of range aren’t too far off. The foundation of his argument is that the energy density of electric car batteries has been improving rapidly and will continue to do so.
“I expect the next generation in 2015-17 will increase to around 300 km [186 miles] and the following step will be around 500-600 km [310-372 miles],” Dr Neusser said when discussing the VW e-Golf.
Dr Neusser thinks we could have 500- to 600-kilometer (310- to 373-mile) electric cars by 2020.
Naturally, Dr Neusser doesn’t think plug-in hybrid electric cars will last long. They are just a short bridge technology on the way to an automobile market full of 100%-electric cars. He also included hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as a bridge technology. (Nevermind that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles aren’t green, are absurdly expensive, don’t have an infrastructure in place to support them, and Volkswagen execs have slammed fuel cell vehicles as being inefficient and hopeless outside of Japan.)
But Dr Neusser is convinced battery electric vehicles are the future.
“Battery [technology] makes the biggest steps in very short time frames. If you look at when we started with the e-mobility of the Golf, and you look now to the Passat, we have done the first step,” noted Dr Nuessen.
“We have more energy density in the batteries [than before], and in 2015-16 will come the next step which means we come from 25-28 ampere hours (Ah) energy density to 36-37Ah. Now we are actually working on the next step to around 60Ah… with research will come a completely new electro-chemical chemistry inside the batteries, and this will come at the beginning of the next decade.”
Electric cars like we have today with a typical range around 135 kilometers (84 miles) are already adequate for the large majority of our driving, over 90% of it. However, once we hit affordable electric cars with ranges around 320 kilometers (200 miles) — like Tesla, GM, and presumably Nissan and Volkswagen are working on — I think we’re going to see a massive shift to electric mobility.
The real benefits of electric cars are their excellent acceleration and much greater convenience (compared to gasmobiles), but the last remaining boogie man that is keeping average people away from even considering the cars is an often illogical concern regarding their shorter range. Once that issue is gone, I thin they will quickly find out why electric cars kick the ass of gas.
Photo Credit: Volkswagen
Source: EV Obsession. Reprinted with permission.
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