WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently awarded three industry teams a total of $7 million for the development of computer-aided software design tools to help produce the next generation of electric drive vehicle (EDV) batteries.

These projects support DOE’s Computer-Aided Engineering for Electric Drive Vehicle Batteries (CAEBAT) program. The objective is to help the automotive and battery industries design and develop a wide array of advanced EDV batteries more quickly, resulting in less expensive batteries.

EDVs — hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and electric vehicles — have the potential to significantly reduce petroleum consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Project goals for the selected teams include:

Developing battery engineering tools to design cells and battery packs

Shortening the battery prototyping and manufacturing processes

Improving overall battery performance, safety, and battery life

Reducing battery costs.

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

General Motors, ANSYS and ESim

CD-adapco, Battery Design LLC, A123 Systems and Johnson Controls-Saft.

Selected teams will contribute 50 percent of the costs of the project over the next three years, bringing the overall project budget to $14 million. In addition to funding, NREL will provide technical support on battery electrochemical-thermal modeling and testing to the teams.

This activity is funded by DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.