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, Li-Ion batteries have a driving range limited to about 100 miles on a single charge and account for nearly 65% of the total cost of EVs. To compete in the market with gasoline-based vehicles, EVs must cost less and drive farther. An EV that is cost-competitive with gasoline vehicles 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:
Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) is developing a new way to manufacture Li-Ion batteries that reduces manufacturing costs and improves overall battery performance. Traditionally, Li-Ion manufacturers make each layer of the battery separately and then integrate the layers together. PARC is working to manufacture a Li-ion battery by printing each layer simultaneously into an integrated battery, thereby streamlining the manufacturing process. Additionally, the battery structure includes narrow stripes inside the layers that increase the battery’s overall energy storage. Together, these innovations should allow the production of higher capacity batteries at dramatically lower manufacturing costs compared to today’s Li-ion batteries.
If successful, PARC’s new manufacturing process could significantly reduce the cost and increase the energy storage of Li-Ion batteries for EVs.
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 advantage over their foreign competitors.