Volkswagen electric car news – they have announced an $84b investment to create a range of electric vehicles – with plans to have electric versions of all 300 models by 2030. Of this $84b, $50b will be invested in battery production to support these vehicles – not directly linked to solar energy but definitely something that will have myriad benefits for the energy storage industry as a whole.
The Volkswagen Electric Car / Battery Investment
Earlier this year VW announced that they were investing $10b in EVs but appear to have changed their strategy considerably over the past 6 months – planning to overtake Tesla and become the biggest electric vehicle company in the world. They’ll make EVs for Volkswagen as well as their other brands such as Audi and Porsche.
Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller said “A company like Volkswagen must lead, not follow” – and that “…this is not some vague declaration of intent. It is a strong self-commitment which, from today, becomes the yardstick by which we measure our performance.”
With the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf’s range called ‘sub-par’ by some reviewers, (the 35.8kWh lithium-ion battery pack is up 50% on its predecessor, but it’s still heavy and can only reach 125 miles) it’s imperative that VW work on their battery technology if they’re to be a real contender in the EV space. According to Auto News new EVs will arrive in 2020 with 300 miles of range for a price similar to the Golf.
Solar Power charging Electric Vehicles
With the Tesla Powerwall 2, the Tesla Solar Roof and the Tesla EVs looking to integrate more tightly over the coming 12 months, there are a couple of questions with regards to renewable energy and EVs. Firstly, will we see an influx of electric cars with solar panels? Secondly – how tightly will rooftop PV solar and EV recharging integrate over the coming years?
To answer the first question, it’s definitely something being worked on – last month Audi announced they’re partnering with a Chinese solar panel manufacturer to add a solar roof on Audi’s electric cars. In fact, this dates as far back as the Mazda 929 in 1991 – the technology just hasn’t been good enough. Solar panel tech has been advancing rapidly over the past few years and we expect to see more solar panels on cars over the coming years – they’re cheaper, more flexible, and able to absorb much more energy than previous panels.
Secondly, that’s definitely something people are also trying to solve – energy storage technology plays a massive part in this as the ideal charging times (i.e. when people aren’t at home and therefore not using electricity) aren’t usually times when the car is in its garage! So using smart technology like the Redback Smart Hybrid System and teaching it about electricity usage patterns and joining that up with other information such as weather forecasts will play a key part in marrying solar power and electric vehicles. One thing’s for sure – this technology is going to move a lot faster over the next few years and it won’t be long before EVs are the norm.