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Published on December 20th, 2015 | by James Ayre


Volkswagen Switching To Flat EV Battery Architecture

December 20th, 2015 by  

Originally published on EV Obsession.

As part of the company’s continuing response to its infamous diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen will reportedly be transitioning to the use of flat battery packs for its long-range electric vehicles — following (slowly) in the footsteps of companies such as Tesla, Nissan, and BMW.

The company will reportedly be developing a new “dedicated” vehicle architecture that “foresees the installation of flat batteries.”

Volkswagen logo

The chairman of the Volkswagen passenger-car brand, Dr Herbert Diess, commented that the move was “a breakthrough” for the company, according to the most recent issue of the VW employee newsletter Insight.

Green Car Reports provides more:

Diess will unveil a new electric Volkswagen Microbus concept in early January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

…The current first generation of battery electric vehicles adapted from gasoline cars, including the Volkswagen e-Golf, usually retrofits battery packs under the rear seat and cargo bay. As well as the e-Golf, additional vehicles in that category include the Chevrolet Spark EV, Fiat 500e, Ford Focus Electric, Kia Soul EV, and Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive.

But a dedicated flat-battery design is likely a requirement in order to accommodate the much larger packs that will boost range from those cars’ 80 miles or so to match the 200 miles of next year’s 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.

While this does sound like good news, the cynical side of me notes that this announcements seem to be intended simply to counteract the bad PR resulting from the diesel emissions cheating scandal.

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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • eveee

    We shall see how much investment VW places in this basket. The move toward flat batteries is tantalizing, but too early to tell. Flat batteries could be pouch cells instead of 18650 cylindrical or prismatic, or it could mean a move to a skateboard pack a la Tesla, a wise move.

    The current VW e Golf pack is a weird cross between a Volt pack and a Leaf pack with few advantages. It has a center hump. and fills some area under the floor and seats.



    From the picture, the current pack is pouch cells, packed together in modules, much like todays Volt. The energy density of this earl pack is not that good.

    Other EV entrants will find that Tesla’s packaging is more difficult to emulate than they might have imagined. A look under the hood (bonnet) of most competitors shows a compartment stuffed with motor and little extra room. The Tesla mounts the motor in the trunk, but there is still trunk room there..





    Another reason why purpose built EVs are the way to go.

  • Adrian

    Developing and putting a new platform into production takes around $1B. So maybe we’ll see something in 2026?

    • Bob_Wallace

      They wait that long and they will find their lunch has been eaten.

  • Martams

    So how much money is VW talking about she shifting their focus to EV? Or is this just lying lip service? Money moves things, no funding no fun.

    • Nolan Thiessen

      VWs R&D will be around $12B this year. They are increasing their electric R&D by $100M. I can’t seem to find what the base electric portion of the $12B was though.

  • Ross

    The market context of the bolt in 2017 might mean we’ll see something from VW before 2020.

    • JamesWimberley

      The e-Golf is not a bad car, only rather expensive compared to the Leaf. The mother company doesn’t seem to have the subsidiary Audi’s penchant for vapourware announcements. The management have a lot to prove,and they control huge engineering resources. I think we will see new evs much sooner than 2020.

      • Ross

        I hope so. Not so long ago they were promoting their common platform. Now they have to replace that with one optimised for BEVs with range.

      • jeffhre

        That would be a quick turnaround!

      • Riiiiight….the parent company (VW) lies, exaggerate, deceives and you give them a pass compared to their Audi subsidiary? Strange logic…anyway, we agree that VW getting into the EV game is about time.

        • JamesWimberley

          Audi had the same cheat software, and I’m not about to give them a pass on that. Marketing is more decentralised than engineering.

        • Martams

          Nope, they’re just doing lip service and dragging their feet to EV. Look at their budget allocation. EV department received less than a fraction of a percent of their entire capital expenses.

  • JamesWimberley

    JA: “this announcement seems to be intended simply to counteract the bad PR resulting from the diesel emissions cheating scandal. ” I doubt it. Up to now VW, like other legacy carmakers, have hedged their design bets, trying to use the same platforms for both ICE, hybrid and BEV variants. So they have ended up with compromises that aren’t ideal for anything. Switching to a pure ev platform like Tesla’s ends the hedging. VW will build pure BEVs. About time.

  • jeffhre

    Welcome Volkswagen! And I’m sure you’ll begin to publish your projected time lines – soon.

    • Marion Meads

      And hope that they show-off that their new capital expenditures, R&D and marketing budget for EV’s would be the biggest one compared to their other diesel powered vehicles.

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