• Feb 12th 2009 at 2:19PM
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It's been a busy day in Wolfsburg as VW followed up the release of a sketch of its upcoming mid-sized sedan with an announcement about new electric drive systems. VW and Toshiba have signed a letter of intent to collaborate on electric drive systems and power electronics. These electric drive systems will be used in battery-powered versions of the New Small Family (NSF) cars. The NSF lineup is made up of the production versions of the up! series of concepts first seen in 2007. VW is planning to build small cars based on this new platform under a number of its different brands around the world. In the press release, CEO Dr. Martin Winterkorn, indicated that VW wants to be the first to mass produce affordable electric vehicles on a large scale. In order to get there, VW is working with a number of partners in addition to Toshiba on elements such as lithium ion batteries. VW has not given an indication of when these electric cars may debut, but if they intend to be first, they will have to move fast.

[Source: Volkswagen]

Volkswagen and Toshiba sign letter of intent

Professor Winterkorn: A move forwards in the development of electric vehicles

Wolfsburg, 12th February 2009 – Volkswagen AG (Wolfsburg) and the Toshiba Corporation (Tokyo) have signed today a letter of intent in Wolfsburg. The objective is a cooperation for the development of electric drive units and the accompanying power electronics for Volkswagen's planned New Small Family. Furthermore, Volkswagen
and Toshiba are planning the development of battery systems with a high specific energy density for the next generation of electric vehicles.

The chairman of the board of management at Volkswagen AG, Prof. Dr Martin Winterkorn, emphasised: "Volkswagen is forging ahead with the development of future drive technologies in many different areas. In order to further strengthen our position, Volkswagen is investing in the long term and is offering cooperation projects to other companies. One of the important components in this context is the cooperation with Toshiba. I am convinced that this will be a major step forward towards the development of series production electric vehicles for our customers." Volkswagen's objective, he said, is to be the first manufacturer to provide an emissions-free, affordable and safe large-scale production electric vehicle. "A considerable amount of research and development work still has to be carried out until we can produce the electric vehicle, in the field of lithium-ion battery technology in particular and this is an area in which the Volkswagen Group is working with further potential technological partners alongside Toshiba ", stated Prof. Dr Winterkorn.

The letter of intent was signed by Prof. Dr Winterkorn and Atsutoshi Nishida, president and chief executive officer of the Toshiba Corporation. Nishida said: "We look forward to building up a mutually beneficial partnership with Volkswagen, a clear leader in the automotive industry making strong initiatives in the development of environmentally-friendly cars. The combined know-how of the two international technology groups Volkswagen and Toshiba will be an important step towards the drive technologies of tomorrow." He continued that this is a good signal for mobility based on ecology and economy.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      I dunno! You wait decades for a bigname carmaker to go electric, then suddenly they all want to be first.

      The fact that so many have entered the race should at least ensure some fierce competition in the development of affordable batteries.

      Dr Winterkom's indication of how much research VW has still to do, suggests he is a little out of touch with where the other runners are. He may have to settle for not winning gold.
        • 8 Months Ago
        VW already has sold a all electric car.... the Golf MK III Citystromer in the mid 90´s
        They have produced them in a low number production run of 120vehicles.

        They know the technic and how to handle it...the challenge for all companys around the world is to improve the range of the batterie pack to petrol engine powered cars range and produce them for the same money a petrol powered car would cost and recharging should be done in minutes not hours..
        • 8 Months Ago
        No need to get charging times down to a few minutes. Could instead have battery-swap stations. Drive in. Drop the underslung battery pack. Hydraulically uplift a freshly charged pack. Drive out.

        That isn't going to happen with the currently proposed EVs because nobody is yet bothering to standardise battery sizes, shapes, and mountings. But I can see it happening with later generations of EVs.

        One UK maker of electric vans (Modec) already have battery packs that can be exchanged for a fresh pack in about 15 minutes. Theirs are slid out sideways using a standard forklift truck. See http://www.ModecZEV.com
      • 8 Months Ago
      I would like to know range, speed, and recharge times.....AND cost.
      • 8 Months Ago
      good old VW, I dont know who else is making plans like this? but Sam seems to think they are, mercedes maybe, but thats neither "affordable and safe large-scale production electric vehicle." oh and Mark um its a bit hard to come up with "range, speed, and recharge times.....AND cost." on a range of vehicles that dont exist yet, might want to use the old noggin before you comment, otherwise you might come across as irritating
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