Jump to content
Drying room at the AIT location in Vienna

Research at the heart of the e-car


Discussions about electric cars usually focus on two aspects: cost and range. Both are directly linked to the heart of an electric car, namely the battery. An entire research focus at AIT is dedicated to this. Find out here how to make cars as efficient, cost-effective and safe as possible and why science is miles ahead of industry in this area.

The target is ambitious: CO2 emissions from new cars in the EU must be reduced by 37.5 percent by 2030, and a 31 percent reduction has been set for trucks. It is thus clear that it must be possible to quickly make e-vehicles available as cars for the masses - a huge challenge for vehicle manufacturers and research.

The heart of a modern e-car is the battery. To make electromobility a success story, the further development of battery technology is the decisive factor. The EU has recognized this and is investing billions in the development of a European battery. In fact, there is an urgent need for action here, because the Europeans are lagging far behind the Asian manufacturers. They dominate the world market with 90 percent of the battery cells produced.

Battery production in AIT's drying room

Test-The largest HORIZON2020 project at AIT 3beLiEVe aims to strengthen the position of the European battery and automotive industry by developing the next generation of battery cells.

AIT coordinates European catch-up

AIT plays a prominent role in the Europeans' race to catch up. Its experts are coordinating the eCAIMAN project, in which bundled European know-how is driving the development of a top-class lithium-ion battery. The aim of the AIT scientists is to make significant progress in terms of battery performance, safety and a favorable price-performance ratio. So far, electric cars are too expensive and lack range. However, as long as e-vehicles cannot meet people's usual demands for individual mobility, they will not become established on the market. 

But optimism is certainly warranted. A scientific breakthrough in improving battery technology is imminent, and a doubling of energy content in the next few years is realistic. Electric cars could then travel up to 600 kilometers on a single charge. In addition, the AIT battery researchers are relying on a kind of modular system. This makes it possible to use the new generation battery not only in passenger cars, but also in light and heavy vehicles. The high volumes of mass production reduce costs.

Researchers soldering a lithium-ion battery

Test-The eCAIMAN project coordinated by AIT is pushing the development of a top-class European lithium-ion battery. Currently, Asian products dominate the world market.

Large numbers of eVehicles are the next step

Research is therefore well on the way to further developing battery technology. But for an electric car to be on the road for everyone, the automotive industry must also do its homework. There are various reasons why there is still a lack of progress. One of them is the immense investment costs required for entry into e-mobility. The construction of a battery cell factory alone costs billions. 
And carmakers need to rethink their approach. The use of particularly lightweight materials in the production of the body and clever energy management could already significantly increase the range of e-mobiles. However, the safety of drivers must not be neglected in the process. So decisions are needed - and quickly, if we don't want to fall behind. After all, a development cycle in the automotive industry takes a long time. In about five years, the model range that can meet the ambitious requirements for 2030 should be on the road.