Volkswagen is eyeing standardized battery technology to cut costs in its electric and hybrid vehicles, a move that could be the first wheel turned on the road to an industry-wide battery standard.
That’s pure speculation on our part, of course. VW’s thinking here, as reported by Automotive News, is to find a way to make electric vehicles cheaper to build (and hopefully, to buy), but it doesn’t solve the problem of making EVs a tenable solution for drivers wishing for tailpipe emissions-free long-distance driving while eliminating the need for long recharging breaks.
Whether industry wide or across just one automaker’s line, having a single design should also make batteries less expensive to replace when they’ve reached the end of their service life, a legitimate concern for drivers looking to keep their vehicles for the long term.
Working up an industry standard for batteries presents a number of challenges, which are nicely explained in this piece by John Voelker at Green Car Reports. Even for VW alone, the move won’t happen overnight: the batteries that go into its various electric and hybrid models come from different suppliers, and it’ll take some time to come up with one design that can be produced by those suppliers and made to work in multiple vehicles.