Illinois: High-Energy, Concentration-Gradient Cathode Material for Plug-in Hybrids and All-Electric Vehicles Could Reduce Batteries’ Cost and Size

Project Overview
Positive Impact:Batteries for electric drive vehicles and renewable energy storage will reduce petroleum usage, improving energy security and reducing harmful emissions.
Location: Illinois
Partners: Argonne  National Lab
EERE Investment: $1.2 million
Clean Energy Sector: Sustainable transportationPDF

With support from EERE, Argonne National Laboratory and several partners have developed a high-energy, concentration-gradient cathode material for plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles. Unlike existing cathodes used in lithium (Li)-ion batteries on the market, this cell has an outer shell that separates the very reactive cathode particles from the battery’s electrolyte. Because this increases the cell’s stability, this novel material provides a much higher energy and longer life than any existing Li-ion cathode material. It also has better structural and thermal stability than current technologies. These characteristics will allow manufacturers to build smaller battery packs and reduce their costs, which could help bring down the overall price of plug-in electric vehicles.

In 2012, R&D Magazine recognized this technology as an R&D 100 winner. These awards recognize the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over past year. Because it has the potential to reduce the cost of plug-in electric vehicles, this technological breakthrough could substantially accelerate their market growth, leading to reductions in carbon pollution and imported oil. These improvements also support the Department’s EV Everywhere Challenge—a broad initiative to make electric vehicles more affordable and convenient to own and drive than today’s gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years.

The Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) develops and deploys efficient and environmentally friendly highway transportation technologies that will enable America to use less petroleum. These technologies will provide Americans with greater freedom of mobility and energy security, while lowering costs and reducing impacts on the environment.

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