Volkswagen ID Buzz Concept
In an announcement last month, Volkswagen joined Nissan and Tesla as the only automakers to explicitly warranty not just the batteries in its cars but specifically how much life it expects them to retain.
Frank Blome, the head of VW’s Center of Excellence in Battery Cells, said in an outward facing internal marketing interview that the company expects the battery packs in its upcoming line of ID cars to last “the life of the cars,” he said.
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Of course, for a key component of the car that costs five figures to replace it’s an open question whether a dead battery becomes a self-fulfilling condition of a dead car.
Volkswagen has previously said—at several points—that its batteries will retain 70 percent of their original capacity for 8 years or 100,000 miles. That’s the standard time frame for an EV battery warranty, though not all companies go so far as to provide a definition of how much capacity the battery needs to retain at that point.
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Batteries for the Audi E-tron quattro, the first all-electric car from the Volkswagen Group’s luxury division come from Korean supplier LG Chem. LG’s South Korean rival, SK Innovation, which was just sued by LG Chem at the International Trade Commission, will supply batteries for VW’s new products in Europe as well as the U.S.
SKI is building new battery factories in Hungary and the U.S. state of Georgia to supply the batteries. In China, VW will rely on local batteries from CATL.
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Blome confirmed that Volkswagen continues to work with Silicon Valley startup QuantumScape to develop solid-state batteries for its next generation of batteries for electric cars sometime between 2025 and 2030.
He also affirmed that he expects VW’s European Battery Union partnership with Swedish battery maker Northvolt to produce more and better batteries, and to promote more battery production in Europe. The EBU is expected to begin research in 2020. “This new consortium will cover the entire battery value chain,” he said. “The primary aim is to gain broader expertise in battery cell production.”