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Audi uses innovative 'stacking technology' to develop its densest electric vehicle battery yet: 'Like a layer cake'

The rolled technique leaves unused pockets in the corner of each rectangular battery cell.

The rolled technique leaves unused pockets in the corner of each rectangular battery cell.

Photo Credit: iStock

Experts at Audi are rearranging the furniture in their electric vehicle battery cells to better utilize the space. 

It's stacking up to be a great move that will increase efficiency, provide for greater range, and possibly make EVs more appealing to wider audiences, according to a story by Popular Science

The battery development is part of an expanded commitment in the EV sector from the German automaker. By 2033, the company plans to have phased out combustion engines altogether, Audi reports

Increasing battery performance and affordability are key to achieving the lofty goal. Audi's new EVs (Q8 e-tron, for example) use electrodes that are thin foils, shaped like a roll.

In most EV batteries, lithium ions travel back-and-forth between the positive and negative electrodes as they charge and discharge. This happens in the electrolyte, which can be a solid or a liquid. PopSci said Audi is focusing on solid-state batteries. 

In this latest innovation, Audi's batteries are doing away with the "jelly-roll" floor plan in the cells in favor of a "stacking technology." In the new design, "the cells are stacked neatly, like a layer cake, to increase the overall capacity," per the PopSci story. 

An illustration from Chinese battery company Grepow shows the impact of this better use of space. The rolled technique leaves unused pockets in the corner of each rectangular battery cell. The stacked plan uses nearly all of the space. 

PopSci reports that the result is about 20% more "active material." This results in increased capacity. 

"Cramming more electrons into the space equals overall improved range," the tech news site's Kristin Shaw reports

Shaw explained that slower production and increased costs are "disadvantages" to stacking. 

It also increases battery density, providing more energy. Density typically extends charge time, according to PopSci; however, Audi's experts said their better chemistry improves charge performance. 

The updated chemistry and floor plan only matter for EV shoppers if the innovations deliver on range and efficiency. 

The 2024 Q8 can charge from 10% to 80% in about a half-hour. It has a 285-mile range, Audi reports on the vehicle specs page. PopSci notes that a Sportback model with select packages can travel about 300 miles on a charge. 

Audi is investing around $19 billion into EVs and hybrids, planning to only release fully electric new models by 2026, per the company's newsroom. The growing market is fueling innovation and lower costs as automakers perfect their products. 

Audi seems to be all-in on electric. 

"For real change to be made, innovative solutions need to be discussed," Tara Rush, chief marketing officer at Audi of America, said last year during New York's Greentech Festival.

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