The cost of manufacturing of batteries and power trains for electric vehicles can be halved by 2018, if the gaps in the innovation chain can be closed, according to researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT.) To reach this objective, KIT scientists now plan to develop concrete, close-to-industry solutions for energy storage and power trains, integrating them at a system level in a “research factory” the Institute plans to construct on its campus. KIT is showcasing the €200 million project to industry at the IAA International Motor Show, being held in Frankfurt this week.
“We are no longer focused on studying individual molecules or components, but on developing solutions on the system level, which meet industrial requirements,” says the project head Andreas Gutsch. In the project, 250 scientists from 25 institutes will cooperate in an interdisciplinary manner to commercialise basic research.
Relevant advances made by KIT include nanomaterials based on iron-carbon that have twice the storage capacity of conventional batteries, a new process that reduces the charging time of batteries with electrolytes by one tenth, and modular battery and power train concepts that will allow for a massive cost reduction in mass production.
“To make use of the large innovation potential resulting from the high number of individual improvements, we will pursue further development on the system level,“ said Gutsch.
The research factory will be opened to partners from industry and research, contributing to a rapid and wide dissemination of the new technologies in Germany.
The project will involve recruiting 150 engineers, with the first 50 due to be in post in 2012.