During a keynote address at the 4th Symposium on Energy Storage: Beyond Lithium Ion, Jürgen Leohold, head of Volkswagen research, stated that although the automotive industry is leaning towards electric mobility, little progress has been made in the 111 years since Ferdinand Porsche introduced a battery-powered vehicle at the world expo in Paris.
That vehicle, according to Leohold, was equipped with a 24-kWh lead-acid battery pack, hub-mounted electric motors and boasted a range of approximately 50 kilometers (31.1 miles). This sounds awfully similar to some of today's plug-in cars, so is anything really different? Of course there is. Leohold said:
Leohold says that electricity used to charge plug-in vehicles must come exclusively from renewable energy sources. Otherwise, as Leohold claims, plug-in vehicles have no emissions advantage over today's fuel-efficient conventional automobiles (the data shows otherwise, though).So what has changed? What has changed the business mainly is that lithium-ion batteries have come around and finally supported an energy density that allows you to build a halfway decent car.
In the 1970s, Volkswagen launched two electric vehicles but, Leohold stated, sales figures were pitiful. We expect the Golf blue e-motion will fare better.