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:
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is developing a new high-power, long-life, acid-based battery that addresses the cycle life issues associated with lead-acid batteries today. Lead-acid batteries are used extensively in gasoline-powered vehicles and even modern electric vehicles for initial ignition, but inevitably wear out after a limited number of complete discharge cycles. To solve this problem, UCLA will incorporate novel, newly-discovered material that allows the battery to store a greater electrical charge using a conventional battery design. This new battery would provide up to 500 times more charge and discharge cycles and up to 10 times the power of existing lead-acid batteries. UCLA’s batteries will be compatible with comparable manufacturing processes for current lead-acid batteries, allowing for rapid, low-cost commercialization.
If successful, UCLA’s battery could be combined with longer-range electric vehicle batteries to create a hybrid system that provides the power necessary for immediate response and acceleration, and the longevity needed for vehicle start/stop technology.
This technology could produce a high-power battery that improves the capabilities of EVs, enabling the mass adoption of EVs and 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.