Plug-in Electric Vehicle Research and Development
Dramatic improvements in plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) performance and cost will require a well-coordinated research and development effort between DOE and America's most innovative researchers and companies. The Vehicle Technologies Office is working with the DOE's Office of Science, ARPA-e (Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy), and National Laboratories as well as industry and academia to develop advanced electric drive components such as batteries, motors, electric machines. DOE is working on everything from fundamental research to applied research to support of early stage high potential, high-impact energy technologies.
The Vehicle Technologies Office's robust portfolio is supported by modeling, testing, and analysis. The Electric Vehicles R&D strategy focuses on these three major areas:
- Battery R&D
The energy storage R&D effort works toward battery advancements that enable greater consumer adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles. Office activities focus on
- reducing battery cost
- increasing battery performance (power, energy, life and durability)
- reducing battery pack weight & volume
- increasing battery tolerance to abusive conditions such as short circuit, overcharge, and crush.
- Electric Drive Systems R&D
Electric Systems R&D activities enable the development of technologies that will significantly improve efficiency, cost, and fuel economy. Some of the strategies to accomplish this include:
- increasing capacitor performance
- reducing weight and volume
- reducing complexity (number of parts)
- integrating motors and electronics, wide bandgap semiconductors, and non-rare earth motors.
- Vehicle Lightweighting R&D
Reducing the weight of a PEV can extend its electric range, reduce the size and cost of the battery needed, or achieve a combination thereof. To achieve these goals for weight reduction, lightweight materials must:
- improve performance
- lower cost
- facilitate manufacturability
- solve challenges with cost effective joining of multimaterial structures and protect them from corrosion
- validate safety of light weight designs
- support design tools to facilitate faster development of new materials.