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Multifunctional Cells for Electric Vehicles

Arizona State University (ASU)
Advanced Cells for Transportation via Integrated Vehicle Energy (ACTIVE)
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$1,998,913
Location: 
Tempe, AZ
Project Term: 
11/25/2013 to 12/31/2015
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
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: 
Arizona State University (ASU) is developing an innovative, formable battery that can be incorporated as a structural element in the vehicle. This battery would replace structural elements such as roof and side panels that previously remained passive, and incapable of storing energy. Unlike today's batteries that require significant packaging and protection, ASU's non-volatile chemistry could better withstand collision on its own because the battery would be more widely distributed throughout the vehicle so less electricity would be stored in any single area. Furthermore, ASU's battery would not use any flammable components or high-voltage modules. The chemistry minimizes conventional protection and controls while enabling it to store energy and provide structure, thus making vehicles lighter and safer.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, the ASU's battery would allow for a lighter-weight vehicle that could store more energy, resulting greater driving range and a lower vehicle cost overall.
Security: 
The mass adoption of EVs would diminish the demand for petroleum, dramatically reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
Environment: 
Greater use of EVs would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.
Economy: 
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.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik
Project Contact: 
Dr. Cody Friesen
Release Date: 
8/21/2013