Volkswagen Group may shift to a single lithium ion battery cell design for all of its electrified vehicles.
Heinz-Jakob Neusser, VW's board member in charge of development, says the group is targeting a 66 percent cost reduction with a design that would be packaged into modules customized for each vehicle.
"We have a clear understanding in the group of a common cell," Neusser said during a roundtable at the auto show here. "That means each member of the group, each brand, uses the same cell. Otherwise, we cannot get the synergies out of this development."
Volkswagen currently uses multiple types of lithium ion cells. For example, Panasonic supplies cells for the e-Golf, Golf GTE plug-in hybrid and Audi A3, while Samsung supplies cells for the upcoming Passat GTE and Audi electrified vehicles. Lithium ion batteries use a variety of plastics, from the inner polymer film at the center of each cell to the cooling systems, connectors and package.
A single design would enable greater utilization of the group's battery module assembly plant in Braunschweig, Germany. Multiple suppliers could be used to source the single cell design, a spokesman said.
Volkswagen has not been alone in considering way to reduce lithium ion battery prices by communizing some elements of them.
In January, Johnson Controls Inc. executives proposed a need for the auto industry to discuss ways to create a standard size for a pack — much like the standard size for a traditional 12-volt battery now — which would allow suppliers to increase production volume, which would reduce individual battery costs.
Neusser declined to say when the transition may be achieved.
Volkswagen also is researching next-generation lithium ion battery cell technology that would have five times the energy density of the cells it uses today — allowing for longer driving range with a much smaller battery pack.