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Rare-Earth Free EV Batteries

BASF
High Performance NiMH Alloy For Next-Generation Batteries
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$3,873,532
Location: 
Florham Park, NJ
Project Term: 
02/18/2014 to 06/30/2015
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
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: 
BASF is developing metal hydride alloys using new, low-cost metals for use in high-energy nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Although NiMH batteries have been used in over 5 million vehicles with a proven record of long service life and abuse tolerance, their storage capacity is limited, which restricts driving range. BASF looks to develop a new NiMH design that will improve storage capacity and reduce fabrication costs through the use of inexpensive components. BASF will select new metals with a high energy storage capacity, then modify and optimize battery cell design. Once the ideal design has been established, BASF will evaluate methods for mass production and build a prototype 1 Kilowatt-hour battery.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, BASF's components could offer both lower cost and improved capacity while maintaining many of the traditional characteristics of NiMH batteries, including simple design, low weight, and long service life.
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. Ping Liu
Project Contact: 
Dr. Kwo Young
Partners
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Strategic Analysis, Inc.
Wayne State University
Release Date: 
8/21/2013