Driving range, safety, and cost remain the biggest hurdles in the way of mass electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Innovative approaches to EV battery technologies and 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:
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is developing a new metal-hydride/air battery. Current electric vehicle batteries use costly components and require packaging and shielding to ensure safety. To address this, JPL’s technology will incorporate safe, inexpensive, and high-capacity materials for both the positive and negative electrodes of the battery as part of a novel design. Additionally, JPL’s design will use a membrane developed to prevent water loss and CO2 entry within the battery. High power performance and decreased costs will be possible with the use of a single catalyst material that operates both on charge and discharge. Since its new design is intrinsically safer, less packaging is needed, resulting in an overall reduction in weight and volume.
If successful, JPL’s battery would enable the widespread adoption of EVs by offering a safe, low-cost alternative to existing technologies.
The mass adoption of EVs would diminish the demand for petroleum, 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.