Volkswagen and Sanyo officially announced their partnership (earlier post) to work on next-generation high-performance automotive electric storage systems based on lithium-ion technology. The Volkswagen Group said that it hopes to be able to apply Li-ion technology in its first vehicles by 2010.
Sanyo currently provides NiMH batteries for Ford and Honda hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). In January 2006, Sanyo and Volkswagen agreed to co-develop next generation NiMH systems. Those efforts continue; Sanyo is currently working on developing a super-lattice alloy for use as a negative electrode material in its automotive NiMH cells to deliver improved power, durability and storage performance.
Our focus in future will be directed more strongly at making electrically powered 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. The whole idea will be to no avail, however, as long as we do not have powerful energy storage systems at our disposal and as long as vehicle operations are not in tune with customer demands. This cooperation is an important step for us.—Prof Martin Winterkorn, CEO of the Volkswagen Group
Sanyo created a pilot line for its first Li-ion batteries targeted at hybrid applications at its Tokushima Plant (for testing purposes) in March 2006. The batteries produced were then shipped and tested as sample units. Sanyo will initially build a new mass-production HEV Li-ion battery line at the Tokushima Plant, with plans to produce enough HEV-use batteries to meet future demand of approximately 15,000 to 20,000 units yearly.
According to Dr. Menahem Anderman of Advanced Automotive Batteries, Sanyo reportedly is using a manganese cathode material (LMO/NMC) and a surface-modified graphite material for the anode. LMO/NMC is the most popular cathode chemistry today, with good synergetic effect between the components, according to Dr. Anderman. The modified anode surface reduces the sensitivity of the critical SEI (solid electrolyte interphase) and/or improves charge acceptance, he says.
Sanyo plans to invest approximately ¥80 billion (US$763 million) by 2015 in its HEV Li-ion battery business to add new manufacturing locations and expand its production capacity to 10 million cells per month.
Sanyo is also accelerating its development for an early entry into the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) market, with a goal to start providing these batteries to the market in 2011.
At the Geneva Motor Show in March, Volkswagen showcased its Golf TDI Hybrid design study (earlier post), which demonstrated the potential for energy reduction with the combination of a high-tech-diesel, electric-drive and 7-speed-DSG technology. The concept hybrid uses a 1.4 kWh NiMH pack and is capable of achieving 3.4 L/100km (69 mpg US) of fuel consumption.
At the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, Audi presented the metroproject quattro, a plug-in hybrid design concept featuring a Li-ion pack. (Earlier post.) The 30 kW electric motor can power the vehicle alone for zero-emission driving, with the Li-ion pack supporting a range of up to 100 km (62 miles) in pure electric mode.
(A hat-tip to Chris!)