Head of electronics talks about future battery, charging tech
As Porsche prepares to introduce the Mission E in 2019, it’s naturally looking to bolster its technology in the EV space as well. In an interview conducted with Porsche, Uwe Michael, head of electrics and electronics, talks about the direction of batteries and ways the brand will improve the charging experience on high-performance electrified vehicles of the future.
As we already knew, Porsche is introducing an 800-volt charging system compatible with the Mission E. This 800-volt system allows cars to recoup 249 miles of range in less than 20 minutes. But Porsche also wants to give customers the ability to choose the charging output on their wall boxes based on their individual preferences. Those driving a plug-in hybrid can choose an output of 3.6 kilowatts if they drive slower, or 7.2 kilowatts if they drive more aggressively. For electric vehicles, the choice between 11 and 22 kilowatts is appropriate.
The charging experience should also be tailored to your route plans, Michael says. With Porsche’s Turbo Charging Planner, EV drivers can optimize quick charge options based on their route. Porsche also wants drivers to be able to reserve charging stalls to save even more time.
Many automakers have explored inductive charging, and Porsche is one of them. But Michael notes that there are plenty of challenges in this area. He says that at first, this will only be an option for home charging. “We’re delighted that all the brands within the Volkswagen Group are working together to find a uniform solution. This will go a long way towards setting a benchmark,” he said.
In order for EVs to really take off, automakers must continue to improve battery technology. Michael predicts that traditional lithium-ion batteries will improve 5 percent in efficiency per year in the foreseeable future. These incremental improvements will add up to large increases in power. In the future, over-the-air updates could increase a car’s power when the customer wants a little extra juice.
Porsche is working on solid-state batteries with no liquid electrolyte. However, Michael doesn’t expect this technology to reach cars before 2025. Lithium-air technology is even further out, and it’s unlikely we’ll see this tech in a production car before 2030.
BMW sees a future with Level 5 automation, the highest level of autonomy on the SAE scale. These vehicles don’t need a steering wheel, brake pedal, or accelerator because the car controls virtually all functions by itself. But, according to Michael, Level 5 isn’t a priority for Porsche. Instead, the automaker continues to make strides with assistance systems that work with human drivers.