Although today’s widely-used lithium-ion batteries have a high energy density thanks to high-capacity electrodes, the substantial thickness of the layers has a negative effect on the charging time for electric vehicles. In order to make the charging process more suitable for everyday use, the first priority has to be to make it faster.

Accordingly, within the scope of the structur.e project new lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles are to be developed that have an enhanced fast-charging capability, thus allowing the current to flow more quickly into the battery. Volkswagen AG will be coordinating the project partners from industry and science with various experiments and numerical simulations being conducted over the next three years to overcome the current limiting effects of anode technology and to make it more efficient. New electrode materials that are better suited for rapid charging are, for instance, to be identified. The project partners are bringing their own individual expertise into the project and are all pursuing different approaches. If the solutions tested in the laboratory prove to be compatible, then the aim will be to prepare the new technology quickly for the market.

The Aalen University of Applied Sciences, for example, is working on the internal structure of the battery electrodes, which are only between 50 and 150 micrometres in size: lasers are being used to investigate how the transport of lithium ions can be improved during the charging process. To do this, pores near the surface are being exposed at the electrodes and three-dimensional structures are being created. With this project, the scientists can also draw on the positive results obtained from previous work.

The structur.e project is receiving approximately six million euros in funding from the BMWi.