Thermal Batteries for Electric Vehicles

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Austin, Texas
Project Term:
11/21/2011 - 06/30/2015

Technology Description:

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) will demonstrate a high-energy density and low-cost thermal storage system that will provide efficient cabin heating and cooling for EVs. Compared to existing HVAC systems powered by electric batteries in EVs, the innovative hot-and-cold thermal batteries-based technology is expected to decrease the manufacturing cost and increase the driving range of next-generation EVs. These thermal batteries can be charged with off-peak electric power together with the electric batteries. Based on innovations in composite materials offering twice the energy density of ice and 10 times the thermal conductivity of water, these thermal batteries are expected to achieve a comparable energy density at 25% of the cost of electric batteries. Moreover, because UT Austin's thermal energy storage systems are modular, they may be incorporated into the heating and cooling systems in buildings, providing further energy efficiencies and positively impacting the emissions of current building heating/cooling systems.

Potential Impact:

If successful, UT Austin's thermal energy storage system would extend the driving range of EVs and cost 75% less than current heating and cooling systems.


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.


This technology would increase the marketability of EVs—helping spur growth in the automobile industry.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. James Klausner
Project Contact:
Prof. Li Shi
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:



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