In order to get rid of the reliance on Asian battery manufacturers, Volkswagen Group will seize the peak of technology and will independently produce solid-state lithium-ion polymer batteries in the future, and plans to start mass production from 2024 to 2025.

On August 1st, Volkswagen Group released its second-quarter earnings report. During the period, Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diss said that Volkswagen plans to produce solid-state lithium batteries independently, which may start mass production from 2024 or 2025. Diss said that in the long run we must not rely on several Asian manufacturers, and added that the solid-state battery factory may be built in Europe, and may be built in Germany if the conditions are right.

Once this news was disclosed by the media, it suddenly became a hot topic in the industry. And “solid-state battery” is the most important. In the eyes of the outside world, it is difficult to accurately understand what a solid-state battery is if you are not interested in understanding the electric vehicle’s power battery.

As we all know, batteries, motors, and electronic controls are the core components of electric vehicles. Among them, the components that determine the cruising range of electric vehicles are batteries. The key to the competition of electric vehicle cruising range is the competition of battery energy density. Each type of battery material system has a certain upper limit of energy density. From the first generation of nickel-metal hydride batteries and lithium manganate batteries, to the second generation of lithium iron phosphate batteries, until now, the third generation of NCM lithium polymer battery, which is widely used and expected to last until around 2020
 Battery. Its energy density and cost are rising and falling, respectively.

Among them, the lithium iron phosphate battery has a monomer energy density of approximately 120-140 Wh/kg, and the energy density of the mass-produced NCM lithium ion polymer battery cell can reach 130-220 Wh/kg. At present, the energy density of the battery in the existing system is difficult to break through 300Wh/kg, not to mention the goal of achieving a cell density of 400Wh/kg in 2025 and 500Wh/kg in 2030.

The layout of major solid-state battery manufacturers and research institutions around the world

To this end, a new battery material system has become the development direction of the next generation of batteries, which is a solid-state battery. The main difference between solid-state batteries and currently used lithium-ion batteries and lithium-ion polymer batteries is that they use solid electrodes and solid electrolytes. The energy density of the lithium battery can be greatly improved. According to experts’ predictions, the development of solid-state battery technology in 2020 will make a breakthrough. At that time, solid-state batteries will further surpass lithium-ion batteries in terms of cost, energy density and production process. Even by 2030, lithium-ion batteries will no longer be the mainstream battery for electric vehicles.

Solid-state batteries have obvious advantages over traditional lithium-ion batteries. The first is volume. Since the electrolyte and diaphragm are not required, they are replaced by solid electrolytes. At the same energy density, the thickness of the solid state battery will be smaller. Secondly, in terms of weight, after using the solid electrolyte, the graphite anode can be replaced by metal lithium to reduce the amount of the anode material, so that the weight of the entire battery is significantly reduced. At the same time, higher security and better fast charging capability are also advantages over current lithium-ion batteries. When integrated into an electric vehicle, the solid-state battery also has the characteristics of compact structure, adjustable scale, and large design flexibility, which is beneficial to the integration of the whole vehicle.

Take Volkswagen’s first electric car e-Golf as an example. The current cruising range is 300 kilometers. If you use solid-state battery technology, you can increase its cruising range to 750 kilometers. However, at present, due to cost and technical factors, solid-state batteries are more difficult to commercialize in a short period of time.

At present, the world’s mainstream automakers regard electrification as a future development destination. Volkswagen is relatively ahead of the electrification field, but the electrification strategy has little impact. According to the “RoadmapE” electrification strategy released by Volkswagen in September 2017, Volkswagen will realize the electrification of the entire lineup by 2030. This means that more than 300 models of the Volkswagen Group will launch at least one electric version for each model. To achieve this, Volkswagen will need more than 150 gigawatt hours of battery capacity by 2025, which is equivalent to the annual production of at least four super battery factories.

In order to make the battery production reach the “RoadmapE” matching requirement, in September 2017, the Volkswagen Group launched a bid of 50 billion euros for the global battery. Up to now, the Volkswagen Group has signed a purchase quota of 20 billion euros. The first Chinese battery partner was the Ningde era. In addition, Samsung SDI and Panasonic are also major battery suppliers of the Volkswagen Group. These battery suppliers also have strategic partnerships with BMW and Toyota. That is to say, Volkswagen is following the footsteps of BMW and Toyota in the battery supply. It is conceivable that Volkswagen wants to make breakthroughs in this field.

In terms of power batteries, it is better for the public to follow the footsteps of others. To get rid of the dependence of Asian battery manufacturers, and to achieve leading technology in the battery field. In June of this year, Volkswagen Group announced that it will invest USD 100 million in California technology company QuantumScape. The two companies will jointly establish a joint venture company to study solid-state battery technology. Volkswagen dispatched an executive to serve as a member of the QuantumScape board of directors. The two parties plan to start in 2025. The mass production of solid-state batteries was achieved before.

According to the data, Quantumscape was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., with more than 200 technology patents in solid-state battery technology. In addition, it was learned from the public that Quantumscape’s solid-state battery samples have been tested in Germany.

Lithium polymer battery manufacturer PD combed the relationship between Volkswagen and Quantumscape, Volkswagen had already held a 5% stake in Quantumscape in December 2014. The Volkswagen once again injected $100 million, and Volkswagen Group has become the largest shareholder of Quantumscape. This also shows that Volkswagen Group is very recognized for the development of Quantumscape in solid-state battery technology.

We reported in September 2017 that the Volkswagen Group plans to acquire metal cobalt in 50 billion euros. It is not difficult to see that Volkswagen Group has long planned to hoard battery raw materials. This time, Quantumscape’s solid-state battery technology is known. It is known that Volkswagen Group’s self-manufactured solid-state battery is progressing smoothly.

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