Water-Based Flow Battery for EVs

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Project Term:
03/28/2014 - 04/02/2015

Critical Need:

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:

General Electric (GE) Power & Water is developing an innovative, high-energy chemistry for a water-based flow battery. A flow battery is an easily rechargeable system that stores its electrode--the material that provides energy--as liquid in external tanks. Flow batteries have typically been used in grid-scale storage applications, but their flexible design architecture could enable their use in vehicles. To create a flow battery suitable for EVs, GE will test new chemistries with improved energy storage capabilities and built a working prototype. GE’s water-based flow battery would be inherently safe because no combustible components would be required and any reactive liquids would be contained in separate tanks. GE estimates that its flow battery could reduce costs by up to 75% while offering a driving range of approximately 240 miles.

Potential Impact:

If successful, GE’s new chemistry could enable a high energy density flow battery for EVs that offers improved driving range, cost, and reliability.


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.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Ping Liu
Project Contact:
Sergei Kniajanski
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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