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 Maryland (UMD) is using water-based magnesium and hydrogen chemistries to improve the energy density and reduce the cost of EV batteries. The lithium-ion batteries typically used in most EVs today require heavy components to protect the battery and ensure safety. Water-based batteries are an inherently safer alternative, but can be larger and heavier compared to lithium-ion batteries, making them inefficient for use in EVs. To address this, UMD’s water-based battery will use a magnesium hydrogen chemistry that would double energy storage capacity, for a much lighter energy storage system. Furthermore, UMD’s use of safe inexpensive materials could reduce the cost of battery management, improve reliability, and allow for operation across a wider range of temperatures.
If successful, UMD’s water-based battery would be inherently safer than lithium-ion batteries with a comparable energy density, but would be smaller, lighter, and less expensive.
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.