Praesentation des Volkswagen up! Viertuerer in Wolfsburg, 25.- 27.01.2012/Volkswagen Studie e-up!

An electric battery-powered version of the VW up! small car will debut next year (Photo: VW)

Volkswagen and BASF have established a 50,000 euro award for research that may lead to better high-performance energy storage.

The award comes as the German auto industry is increasingly worried that for advanced battery technology, which is crucial for the growth of the electric-vehicle industry, it needs to rely on expertise from Asia.

Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen, has repeatedly called for reintroducing electrochemistry as a specialization at German technical universities.

Electrochemical expertise is essential for the development of future energy storage devices. Without these technologies, the industry worries that it won't be able to develop future driving concepts such as electric mobility.

Today's batteries provide an electric-vehicle range of little more than 150km, which is considered one of the major obstacles in the growth of the EV industry.

"The further development of high-performance batteries is indispensable in order to boost the driving range and thus the appeal of electric vehicles, " Winterkorn said in a statement.

Volkswagen, Europe's largest carmaker, wants future battery systems to provide reliable service for 10 years.

BASF is developing battery components such as cathode materials and electrolytes that are key to the production of high-performance lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are mostly used in today's electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.

BASF CEO Kurt Bock said the award aims to speed up the development of new future-proof battery technologies. "Our high-performance battery materials and other innovative functional components will allow a greater driving range with reduced weight and lower costs," Bock said.

More information on the award can be found at www.science-award.com