Many people enter unknown territory when they buy an electric car. Can they be sure that the batteries will perform?
Yes, absolutely. For our new electric models we’ve essentially built the car around the battery, so there’s plenty of space to store power. This lets us achieve ranges of up to 550 kilometers, and at affordable prices. The battery modules used to be distributed in various places in the car – but now the battery is compactly located between the axles in the underbody. This means we have a central distribution point for the energy. It’s one of the big advantages of our new MEB electric drive platform.
How long do the batteries last?
Our aim is always for our batteries to last as long as the cars. We guarantee a minimum capacity of 70 percent for eight years or 160,000 kilometers. But drivers can also influence the length of a battery’s service life. Normal charging is better for the batteries than rapid charging, and charging the batteries up to just 80 instead of 100 percent also increases their service life.
Isn’t it a little impractical not to charge the car completely?
In most cases 80 percent is more than enough. Many customers tend to drive short distances, like going to work or going shopping. The battery doesn’t have to be charged 100 percent for that. You do your driving and charge the car when needed, usually at your home wallbox. Of course, if customers want, it’s always possible to charge cars up to the full range. To meet this need, Volkswagen is working with other carmakers to build a network of rapid charging stations on European freeways. That will especially help customers going on long trips, like setting off on vacation.
Can you describe how the battery is structured?
The battery systems in our new e-car models are flat and located between the axles in the vehicle’s underbody. They’re shaped a little like a bar of chocolate. Every battery system is composed of a variable number of battery modules, which in turn consist of individual cells. The advantage of this modular structure is its flexibility. The greater the range the car should have, the more modules we incorporate into its battery system. But the basic structure is always the same. This makes our production both variable and cost efficient.