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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The main reveal from VW battery day:
VW Expands EV Offensive with Plans for Six Battery Factories (each bigger than Tesla's gigafactory.)

Other good parts: building another 3500 Electrify America fast chargers in North America in 2021. Volkswagen laid out plans for a new battery cell it calls a unified cell. The new design, VW says, will allow it to reduce costs for entry-level electric vehicles by 50 percent and for its mainstream vehicles up to 30 percent.
 
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A few notes I took:
While the battery cell will be unified dimensionally, the cell chemistry will not be. VW is looking at:
  • LFP chemistry for entry-level cars (analogous to Tesla China for SR vehicles)
  • High Mn chemistry for the volume market, i.e. low cobalt and lower nickel (again similar to where Tesla is going)
  • more conventional NMC chemistry for specific applications, esp. high performance and long range.
Ultimately solid state chemistry will supersede all this.

Next, the current battery packaging will be simplified to direct cell to pack, and ultimately direct cell to car packaging. This is quite reminiscent of Tesla's strategy, albeit with very different cell types (cylindrical vs pouch or prismatic), and different ways of packaging cells in the car. But same basic idea, and sort of obvious in hindsight.

Finally, I was very excited to hear concrete plans for vehicle to grid technology and making the electric grid more resilient and efficient. They had the 22 kW bidirectional DC charge box on stage. This is an area where Tesla severely lags.
 

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It is admirable VW is announcing a battery strategy since that is the key to the future. As far as I know no other ICE co. has done this. They are lucky to have Diess. The cell pack is a good direction but their presentation showed prismatic and a very slow process vs cylindical used by Tesla in the 4680. They copied Tesla quite a bit ( giga factories term, mimicking paper printing etc ) and this clearly was a response to Tesla鈥檚 battery day. 2030 to have built 240 gigawatt hour gigafactories where Tesla will likely have that by 2024 ( and by 2030 exponentially ahead? ) shows that catching up to Tesla is a tough proposition. And they are only starting in 2023 which is a concern although i Understand they are up against a wall. VW is probably leading the ICE manufacturers but it does show how far on the technolgical timeline ICE manufacturers are behind Tesla and possibly Chinese manufactirers. Tesla vehicles reportedly already have vehicle to grid circuitry but VW is definitely way ahead of the curve in announcing it So definitely kudos there. But energy arbitration will be a challenging software problem and they really need to get their software engineering together. Having said all this VW is still a well known global brand so if they can even get 2nd place that鈥榮 huge. And they are off to a good start with vehicle designs that are really appealing ( and why we are all here after all ). Expansion of the charging network is great news and will counter range anxiety and one way to counter range increases Tesla will undoubtedly have. And having a strategy for batteries is clearly key and it鈥榮 great VW is doing this and showing skin in the game even if the first attempt is rough at the edges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Finally, I was very excited to hear concrete plans for vehicle to grid technology and making the electric grid more resilient and efficient. They had the 22 kW bidirectional DC charge box on stage. This is an area where Tesla severely lags.
I agree, and the strange thing is Tesla could have the lead on this. They sell lots of inverters for PV. That they have not tells me they just don't want people to use their car like a powerwall. Even though the powerwall is in such short supply they will only sell you one if you also buy a PV system. And it looks like VW is doing it right!
 

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For one, per Sandy Munro, Tesla AC circuits don鈥檛 have the requisite transistors to output AC. They have four large diodes instead. I鈥檓 not sure what their DC side could do, but I don鈥檛 have my hopes up. Elon Musk has dissed V2G so many times, it鈥檚 probably a lost cause at Tesla.

Nissan does a few things, but slowly. They will have to show that they are serious. Once they wake up they could be a contender.

That leaves a wide open field for VW, and they are serious about this. Some tech already exists and they鈥檝e shown it. We just don鈥檛 know what their current vehicles are capable of. I am really curious what tear downs and VWs future announcements will reveal.
 

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For one, per Sandy Munro, Tesla AC circuits don鈥檛 have the requisite transistors to output AC. They have four large diodes instead. I鈥檓 not sure what their DC side could do, but I don鈥檛 have my hopes up. Elon Musk has dissed V2G so many times, it鈥檚 probably a lost cause at Tesla.

Nissan does a few things, but slowly. They will have to show that they are serious. Once they wake up they could be a contender.

That leaves a wide open field for VW, and they are serious about this. Some tech already exists and they鈥檝e shown it. We just don鈥檛 know what their current vehicles are capable of. I am really curious what tear downs and VWs future announcements will reveal.
I missed that Munro reference so thanks for that. I can鈥檛 say ive watched his videos exhaustively but have generally followed his findings on Tesla. I鈥榣l look for that.

WRT Elon, i doubt his word is to be taken as gospel. He was dis鈥檌ng bitcoin in the years before and weeks leading Into Tesla becoming one of the biggest holders of bitcoin, as an example. His tweets might even be strategic, Sun Tzu style.

I agree though that if VW does go down this path quickly, it will be great for them.

The market certainly likes VW鈥檚 announcements, the stock is up 1.8x since last week while Tesla is down.
 
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