At Tech Day 2023, Volkswagen Group Technology gave an insight into the upcoming innovations in electric cars in the areas of batteries, charging and electronics. The focus was on the electric drive system of the future. To that end, Volkswagen takes care of all the core components and, in addition to batteries and electric motors, pulse inverters and thermal management systems are now being developed in-house. The Volkswagen powertrain from a single source offers significant efficiency and economic advantages: up to 20 percent more efficiency can be achieved through the optimal combination of individual components alone.
Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Group, said: “The Volkswagen Group and its brands stand for first-class products and technologies. Thanks to the size and breadth of the Group, as well as our in-house expertise, we are able to benefit from huge economies of scale. This benefits our customers and makes our vehicles even better.”
Thomas Schmall, Member of the Volkswagen Group Management Board responsible for Technology, said: “Our goal is to achieve technological leadership, as well as electric mobility. That is why here we also rely on our in-house competences and, after battery cells and electric motors, we take on the development of pulse inverters and thermal management systems. In the future, the Volkswagen Group will be one of the only car manufacturers in the world able to offer a comprehensively optimized complete system.”
Daniela Cavallo, President of the General Works Council of the Volkswagen Group, said: “The know-how and innovative strength of the Volkswagen colleagues is unique in the world. Promoting and exploiting this strength repeatedly helps us not only to compete, but also in the transformation of the company”.
“Designed by Volkswagen”: Pulse inverters and thermal management systems
The pulse inverter is the brain of the electric drive train and is primarily responsible for efficiency and performance. In order to create the first drive inverter “designed by Volkswagen”, the developers of these core components redesigned the hardware and software from the ground up. Thanks to the principle of the modular tool set, this can be applied in everything from basic engines to sports cars with a power of over 500 kW and more in the future. The technology is currently being developed to series production maturity and can already be used with the next generation of MEPs.
For thermal management systems, Volkswagen is working on completely new solutions. Although a large number of individual modules and long hose connections are used today, they will be replaced in the future by an extremely compact integrated thermal module. This will control the entire air conditioning, including the high voltage battery, so it will have a big impact on the vehicle’s range and fast charging capability. The new all-in-one module is also much lighter, stronger, and more efficient than current systems.
In addition to efficiency, the main focus of the development of all central electric drive components is scalability, as high economies of scale reduce costs.
Group Technology: The technological power of the Group
Volkswagen Group Technology brings together Group-wide activities in the areas of batteries, chargers and electrical components and supports the brands as a group-wide technology supplier. Subsidiaries PowerCo (battery) and Elli (charging and power) are also involved here. Among other things, the high-tech portfolio includes the unitized cell, which will be used in all Volkswagen Group vehicles from 2025 and will set a new benchmark in terms of battery technology. The division also includes Platform Business, which covers cooperation with external partners such as Ford and Mahindra. Worldwide, Volkswagen Group Technology employs approximately 70,000 people.