Volkswagen Working On 3-Year Project To Improve EV Range −


Published on August 25th, 2016 | by James Ayre


Volkswagen Working On 3-Year Project To Improve EV Range

Volkswagen CEOA 3-year, €2 million research project to improve electric vehicle ranges and the electromagnetic compatibility of associated systems is now being worked on by researchers at the Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg, in collaboration with Volkswagen AG and AEM (Anhaltische Elektromotorenwerk Dessau), according to recent reports.

A researcher on the project, Professor Dr Roberto Leidhold, commented on the nature of work: “The fundamental problem with the use of electric motors is the high battery wear and energy consumption when the permanent load peaks during acceleration. If we are able to cache the regenerated braking energy in an additional capacitor, the energy could then be available for renewed acceleration processes. The number of charge cycles would be thus reduced, extending the range of the vehicle.”

With this in mind, the researchers are working on a new configuration in which constant baseload power would come off of the main battery pack, and peak consumption (acceleration, etc.) would be sourced from an regenerative-braking-supplied intermediate store.

Another researcher, Professor Dr Ralf Vick, commented on the accompanying “problem” of electromagnetic compatibility: “Due to the interference of the individual components in the electric vehicle, it could happen that when accelerating, the car radio breaks down or security-related technology such as the ABS is affected. We have, with the largest EMC anechoic chamber on German university campus, the expertise accurately to measure, analyze and then minimize the mutual influence and interference during operation or even eliminate it.”

Interesting enough research I guess, but economical application and technical possibility aren’t the same thing. Who knows at this point if these explorations will lead to anything of commercial value.


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‘s background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Troy Frank

    I get the idea behind the main battery + capacitors for acceleration. But that whole section about “Electromagnetic compatibility” just sounded like gobbly-gook to me. Have any of the theoretical issues they’re researching ever been shown to happen in a production EV?

    • Termin8r

      I’m not an engineer, but I work a lot with EMC engineers and EMC legislation. EMC can be a hugely complicated subject, both technically and legally, especially in cars and even more so in hybrids and FEVs.

      The old car makers have a lot of expertise on designing and building compliant engines, but have outsourced most of their electronics design work. They just don’t know as much about electronics and compliance of electronics as their outside consultants and contractors do. This is becoming a problem for them, since knowledge of fuel burning engines will lose its value fast and the real value will soon be in knowledge of electronics and batteries. So that’s what they’re trying to build up here and I commend them for it. Better late than never.

    • Beat Brunner

      As a former EE engineer having also worked on EMC and Safety compliance and tests of complex electronics circuits, I can just say that EMC tests are a standard normal procedure that needs to be done with every electric product, including all cars. That said, it’s a steep learning curve: It took me designing and passing around 5 products (and like 15 iterations in total) through EMC+Safety compliance procedures to learn sound and solid EMC skills that allowed me to get first pass through compliance with most products thereafter!

      Now, depending on the EMC skills and seniority of their EE engineers, it can be a tedious process with a steep learning curve, or a mostly easy ride. So, Yes, if EMC is badly done you can have systems bugging or getting damaged, but then the EMC compliance tests will (or at least should) fail too.

      The more current you draw, the better EMC should be handled around that current, with careful layouts, proper shielding, filtering and grounding. All stuff that computer electronics hardware engineers are well aware of, but not necessarely ICE car makers, who mainly follow system integration manuals from their subcontractors to pass EMC.

      Thing is that ICE-carmakers have outsourced their EE engineering, and have to re-insource at least the system-level of that, or have the system level outsourced also (and just keep design and final assembly inhouse).

  • Rich

    Isn’t there a Russian EV that already uses capacitors for high efficiency capture of regen breaking. It was an SUV if I recall correctly. This isn’t a ground breaking concept.

  • Bob Fearn

    “One of the top companies out there currently in the field of Light, Detection, and Ranging (LiDAR) technology, Velodyne LiDAR, has received $150 million”
    “A 3-year, €2 million research project to improve electric vehicle ranges”

  • Protean Electric’s prototype EV built into a Mini used super capacitors for their regen, but that is from about 10 years ago from what I remember, but can’t find a source.

    • I remember covering it a few times, and learning a bit from the discussions that followed. Never was entirely clear if it had a future or not.

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