Chinese carmaker BYD and Volkswagen have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore the options for partnership in the area of hybrids and electric vehicles powered by lithium batteries. Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Dr. Martin Winterkorn, and Chairman of the Board of Management of BYD, Wang Chuanfu, signed the agreement last week during a BYD visit to Volkswagen.
Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board for Technical Development at Volkswagen, personally provided the delegation of Chinese top managers with information. The visit, which took place first at the Elektrotraktion Technology Centre in Isenbüttel and then at the test tracks in Wolfsburg, featured technical discussions and test drives with a variety of vehicles such as the Golf twinDrive and the prototype for an electric vehicle.
Volkswagen will consistently expand its successful ‘BlueMotionTechnologies’. Hybrids and electric vehicles will play an increasingly important role, of course. Particularly for the Chinese market, potential partners such as BYD could support us in quickly expanding our activities.—Dr. Hackenberg
Volkswagen is involved in a number of newer partnerships related to lithium-ion batteries and electric drive units:
In 2008, Volkswagen and Sanyo announced partnership to work on next-generation high-performance automotive electric storage systems based on lithium-ion technology. The Volkswagen Group said then that it hopes to be able to apply Li-ion technology in its first vehicles by 2010. (Earlier post.)
Volkswagen is also a member of the Lithium Ionen Batterie LIB 2015 (Lithium-Ion Battery LIB 2015) consortium in Germany, which includes Evonik and Li-Tec, Bosch and BASF The consortium is investing €360 million for research and development of lithium-ion batteries. This will be supplemented by €60 million in funding from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). (Earlier post.)
In January 2009, Volkswagen AG and the Toshiba Corporation signed a letter of intent to cooperate for the development of electric drive units and the accompanying power electronics for Volkswagen’s planned New Small Family. Furthermore, Volkswagen and Toshiba are planning the development of battery systems with a high specific energy density for the next generation of electric vehicles. (Earlier post.)
BYD Auto, which is a subsidiary of China-based BYD Group, the leading provider of NiCd batteries (65% global market share) and lithium-ion cell phone batteries (30% global market share), uses BYD lithium-ion iron phosphate cells in its energy storage system. The company showed the production version of its F3DM (dual mode) plug-in hybrid electric vehicle; the F6DM, a larger version of the F3DM due to go onsale this year; and an all-new battery-electric crossover, the e6, at the North American International Auto Show in January. (Earlier post.)