Most of today’s electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries—the same kind of batteries used in cell phones and laptop computers. Currently, most Li-Ion batteries used in EVs provide a driving range limited to 100 miles on a single charge and account for more than half of the total cost of the vehicle. To compete in the market with gasoline-based vehicles, EVs must cost less and drive farther. An EV that is cost-competitive with gasoline would require a battery with twice the energy storage of today’s state-of-the-art Li-Ion battery at 30% of the cost.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is developing a solid-state, non-flammable electrolyte to make today’s Li-Ion vehicle batteries safer. Today’s Li-Ion batteries use a flammable liquid electrolyte—the material responsible for shuttling Li-Ions back and forth across the battery—that can catch fire when overheated or overcharged. UNLV will replace this flammable electrolyte with a fire-resistant material called lithium-rich anti-perovskite. This new electrolyte material would help make vehicle batteries safer in an accident while also increasing battery performance by extending vehicle range and acceleration.
If successful, UNLV’s new fire-resistant solid electrolyte for EV batteries would increase the Li-Ion transporting rate by 10-100 times and greatly enhance the energy density and power capacity of today’s best Li-Ion solid-state batteries.
Increased use of EVs would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil—the transportation sector is the dominant source of this dependence.
Greater use of EVs would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.
The ability to make higher performance batteries at a lower cost will give U.S. battery manufactures a significant and enduring advantage over their foreign competitors.