Industry teams to help create electric drive vehicle batteries

The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has awarded $7m (£4.4m) to three industry teams for the development of computer-aided software design tools to help produce next-generation electric drive vehicle (EDV) batteries.

These projects support the US Department of Energy’s Computer-Aided Engineering for Electric Drive Vehicle Batteries (CAEBAT) programme.

The objective is to help the automotive and battery industries to design and develop an array of advanced EDV batteries more quickly, resulting in less expensive batteries.

Project goals for the selected teams include: developing battery engineering tools to design cells and battery packs; shortening the battery prototyping and manufacturing processes; and improving overall battery performance, safety and battery life, while reducing costs.

Each team will independently develop and validate computer-aided engineering tools, with an emphasis on electrochemical, electrical, mechanical and thermal issues.

They will also integrate different chemistries, cell geometries and battery-pack configurations.

NREL anticipates that the resulting systems will become competitive marketplace offerings in the near term.

The three industry teams working with NREL are: EC Power, Penn State University, Johnson Controls and Ford; General Motors, Ansys and ESim; and CD-adapco, Battery Design, A123 Systems and Johnson Controls-Saft.

Selected teams will contribute 50 per cent of the costs of the project over the next three years, bringing the overall project budget to $14m.