WOLFSBURG, GERMANYVolkswagen Group and Canadian quantum technology company Xanadu have established a multiyear research program that focuses on innovations in quantum algorithms for simulating battery materials, which are needed to potentially impact the design and development of next-generation cells.

The goal is to reduce computational costs and accelerate Volkswagen’s adoption of quantum computers to develop battery materials that are safer, lighter and more cost-effective.

Accurate and efficient simulation of battery materials is an industrywide challenge that could benefit from the arrival of fault-tolerant quantum computers. Existing classical methods, such as density-functional theory, have been the cornerstone of computational chemistry for several decades. Still, despite their many successes, they are reaching limitations on research areas critical for building better batteries.

Over the past year, Volkswagen and Xanadu have engaged in multi-domain research across material science, computational chemistry, battery technologies, and quantum algorithms that have set the foundation for the program’s long-term research efforts. The joint program aims to tackle industry challenges in battery research by focusing on the development of advanced quantum algorithms for simulating battery materials that will be processed on Xanadu’s next-generation fault-tolerant quantum computers. 

The program will also investigate additional computational problems in materials discovery where quantum computing has the strongest prospects for massive impact. The partnership with Xanadu supports Volkswagen’s larger objective of becoming a data and software-driven provider of more sustainable mobility and their ambition to be leaders in battery development and quantum computing applications.

Earlier this year, Volkswagen AG and the government of Canada signed a memorandum of understanding to promote e-mobility in the country. Both parties agreed to investigate opportunities for Canada to contribute to Volkswagen’s global and regional battery supply chains.

The Canadian government has been investing and continues to invest heavily in quantum technologies. That investment has brought world-class talent to the country, built up the quantum ecosystem, and made Canada a leader in the quantum technology space.