$36 million for electric vehicle energy storage research in U.S.


Cheryl Martin,
Deputy Director,
Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 28, 2013 – The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has provided funding of $36 million to 22 projects across 15 U.S. states to develop transformational electric vehicle (EV) energy storage systems using innovative chemistries, architectures and designs.

The new program, Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems (RANGE), aims to accelerate widespread EV adoption by dramatically improving driving range and reliability, and by providing low cost, low carbon alternatives to today’s vehicles.
“The success of RANGE battery technologies will reshape our thinking on EV storage and help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources, decrease emissions and help maintain our technological lead in R&D,” promised ARPA-E deputy director Cheryl Martin.  
ARPA-E’s RANGE program seeks to improve EV driving range and reduce vehicle costs by re-envisioning the total EV battery system, rather than working to increase the energy density of individual battery cells. Some of the projects selected will focus on developing robust battery chemistries and architectures that would improve vehicle driving range and overall battery robustness. For example, Solid Power located in Louisville, CO will receive approximately $3.5 million to develop a solid state lithium-ion battery that requires less protective packaging, which reduces cost and overall vehicle weight to improve driving range.

RANGE projects will also focus on multifunctional energy storage designs that use these robust storage systems to simultaneously serve other functions in a vehicle, further reducing the storage system’s effective weight and the overall EV weight. For example, the University of California, San Diego will receive approximately $3.5 million to engineer a low cost, low weight battery and to redesign vehicle frames so the battery becomes an integral part of a vehicle’s support structure.

The largest award, of $4 million, is to BASF of Rochester Hills, MI to develop a rare earth-free metal hydride alloy for use in high energy nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Conventional water-based NiMH batteries use rare earth metals and have a limited capacity that results in decreased driving range. BASF’s rare earth-free components could offer both lower cost and improved capacity while maintaining many of the traditional characteristics of NiMH batteries, including simple design, low volume, and long service life.

The full list of project awards is available HERE.