- Aug 13, 2010
Martin Eberhard predicts 500-mile range for the electric vehicles of 2020
Volkswagen E-Up! Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery
The guy who helped bring us the 250-mile electric vehicle (EV) thinks we will be able to go a lot further on a full pack of batteries in ten years. Yes, Martin Eberhard, one of the co-founders of Tesla Motors who is now working with Volkswagen, is predicting that EVs will have plenty of range at affordable price points not all that far into the future. Eberhard spoke with Autocar recently and said something that should put a bit of fear into vehicle charging station companies and people who still fight against plug-in vehicles:
Eberhard also confirmed the rumor that the battery packs he's helping develop for the Blue-e-motion Golf, the E-Up! and the Audi e-tron are all "exclusively" using 18650-type (i.e., laptop size) li-ion cells. The reason is that:At the current rate of progress, I'd say we will have banished the range anxiety problem, and will be making EVs with greater than 500 miles of operational range, within 10 years. At that point, the further development of fast charging infrastructure won't be so important - because how often do you drive more than 500 miles in a day?
In fact, development is so fast that the original e-tron concept had a range of 150 miles. Now, with newer 18650 cells that are about to arrive at VW, range will be doubled to 300 miles. Cost is a big factor, too, and Eberhard said that the latest cells offer a price point of 200 euros ($255 U.S. at today's exchange rates) per kWh.Because 18650 cells are at the leading edge of battery development, and by using them we can benefit from state-of-the-art technology straight away. Put simply, 18650s develop faster than any other kind of battery because there's more demand for them; the industry is already making two billion of them a year.