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Low-Cost Electric Vehicle Battery Architecture

Cadenza Innovation
ARPA-E Award: 
Wilton, CT
Project Term: 
02/10/2014 to 12/01/2017
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 

Driving range, safety, and cost remain the biggest hurdles in the way of mass electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Innovative approaches to EV battery manufacturing present the opportunity to maximize stored energy relative to the weight of EVs, allowing for up to three times the driving range. These new battery chemistries and designs prevent overheating, are immune to catastrophic failure, and can be incorporated into the structure of a vehicle to improve strength in some cases. Much of this can be accomplished at a 30% lower cost compared to conventional batteries, thus bolstering widespread adoption of EVs.

Project Innovation + Advantages: 

Cadenza Innovation is developing an innovative system to join and package batteries using a wide range of battery chemistries. Today's battery packs require heavy and bulky packaging that limits where they can be positioned within a vehicle. By contrast, Cadenza's design enables flexible placement of battery packs to absorb and manage impact energy in the event of a collision. Cadenza's battery will use a novel configuration that allows for double the energy density through the use of a multifunctional pack design.

Potential Impact: 

If successful, Cadenza's batteries would provide greater energy density compared to today's lithium-ion batteries, while reducing the costs associated with materials and processing.


The mass adoption of EVs would diminish the demand for petroleum, dramatically reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.


Greater use of EVs would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.


Technological advancements from the RANGE program could enable EVs to travel significantly further on a single charge at a much lower cost than that of current EVs and conventional vehicles.

Innovation Update: 

(As of May 2018)

Under its RANGE award, Cadenza Innovation developed a high performance, large-format “supercell” that combines 24 cylindrical-wound batteries (sometimes referred to as “jelly rolls” because of their shape) in a single container. The cell provides the energy density benefits of a small-format cylindrical wound cell, but with several safety enhancements. First, the jelly-roll cells enable new opportunities for managing thermal abuse scenarios, such as single cell thermal runaway. Second, if a thermal event occurred, a rupture disc located on the supercell wall with a flame arrestor would prevent the flame from reaching the supercell. Third, a metal shunt connected to all of the jelly-rolls will stop further discharge by fusing when the cell is directly shorted. Finally, the ceramic material surrounding the jelly-roll cells absorbs heat and discharges gas to effectively remove heat from the supercell and prevent cascading thermal events. Ultimately, the jelly-rolls maximize energy density without compromising safety.


Cadenza met the RANGE program’s pack goal of $125/kWh and is now making strides towards deployment. It received private sector follow-on funding to expand its 25-person team and is currently marketing its technology to potential licensees. Cadenza also won a contract with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to develop the technology into a product optimized for the peak shaving market in New York State.


For a detailed assessment of the Cadenza project and impact, please click here.


ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik
Project Contact: 
Christina Lampe-Onnerud
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Chrysler Group LLC
Magna E-Car of America, Inc.
Release Date: