VW and BASF Offer 50,000 Euro Prize For Battery Innovation

Written By Thomas Ponco on Monday, May 21, 2012 | 9:00 AM

The first Sports Cars are considered to be (though the term would not be coined until after World War One) the 3 litre made in 1910 Vauxhall 20 hp (15 kW) and 27/80PS Austro-Daimler (designed by Ferdinand Porsche).

Published May 21, 2012


By Jeff Cobb


Today Volkswagen AG announced it and BASF SE will be jointly sponsoring what essentially amounts to a world-wide brain trust in the form of an annual contest intended to prompt new ides for electric energy storage.



The “Science Award for Electrochemistry” offers a 50,000 prize (about $63,750) for the winner, is open to all, and is intended to promote advanced research in electrochemistry science and engineering with the ultimate hope of improving on electrified vehicles’ energy storage capabilities.



Assuming the research pays off, perhaps also the end goal would be to eliminative the present need for internal combustion component from hybrid and plug-in vehicles, and make the transition to pure electric vehicles.



That would take a new technology beyond lithium-ion chemistries currently on the market to enable range and performance acceptable to the company, and of course it is not the only organization seeking new innovations which VW says are needed.



“Electrochemical expertise constitutes an essential foundation for the development of future energy storage devices,” Volkswagen said. “Without these technologies, neither a supply with renewable energy, which is both friendly to the climate and preserves resources, nor future drive system concepts such as electric mobility will be possible. Energy storage devices do not have the service capacity at present that customers are used to in terms of energy supply and mobility.”



In Volkswagen’s view, the most suitable automotive stop gap measure is hybrids and plug-in hybrids that will offer limited electric range, but rely also on fuel-efficient engines. Presently, VW Group has offered hybrids such as the Touareg hybrid and the Audi Q5 since 2010. This year, the range will be augmented with the Volkswagen Jetta, the Audi A6 and A8.



The company is not altogether against EVs though, and intends to release the Audi R8 e-tron in limited numbers in 2012, along with the VW e-up! and Golf Blue e-motion EVs next year. Also for limited release will be the XL1 plug-in hybrid in 2013.



Aside from the award process open to all intended to spur innovation – which you can access at this Web site – BASF has work ongoing to develop new battery components such as cathode materials and electrolytes that allow the production of high-performance lithium-ion batteries.



"Batteries are the key technology for the electromobility of the future. With the Science Award we are supporting highly qualified scientists around the world so that new future-capable battery technologies can be researched and developed even faster," said Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE.



VW says its Science Award will "be offered annually from now on" with the first application process open through August 3 and an award ceremony following in Wolfsburg, Germany in October.



"The prize money of 50,000 euros makes it one of the highest endowed science awards. For the first time, a pan-industry science award will be conferred jointly by two companies," VW says.






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