The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced up to US$ 45 million in funding to support the domestic development of advanced batteries for electric vehicles. Through DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the department is launching the Electric Vehicles for American Low-Carbon Living (EVs4ALL) program to develop more affordable, convenient, efficient and resilient batteries. The equitable electrification of the transportation sector in America is a priority for President Biden, who included provisions within his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that support his goal to have electric vehicles make up half of all vehicles sales in the United States in 2030.
“Advanced batteries are the heartbeat of the electric vehicle industry and investments to make them charge faster and last longer will be critical to accelerate the deployment of electric cars and trucks,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The benefits of an electrified transportation sector in America will be felt for generations to come — from directly combatting climate change to growing domestic manufacturing jobs and strengthening our overall energy independence.” The ARPA-E EVs4ALL funding opportunity aims to address the following market concerns and dramatically increase domestic electric vehicle adoption by eliminating key detractors for consumers:
- Faster charging: While installing charging infrastructure at home is the preferred option for many electric vehicle drivers, many Americans live in residences that are not equipped with garages or carports to house a charging port. Advanced batteries capable of safe, rapid charging are necessary to appeal to these Americans who are unable to charge cars at home for long periods of time. This will decrease the amount of time drivers spend at charging stations to as low as five minutes, while ensuring increased costs savings during each charge.
- Increasing efficiency: Americans living in different parts of the county experience vastly different weather conditions — from blistering heat to extreme cold. Current batteries for electric vehicles lose performance when temperatures drop below freezing. Developing more efficient batteries that can withstand much colder temperatures is key to ensuring batteries can power vehicles in the coldest parts of the country as well as motivating broader adoption amongst drivers who live in those regions.
- Improving resilience: Addressing range anxiety among potential electric vehicle owners is key to consumer buy-in and their overall comfort level of operating their vehicle for long-distance traveling. Battery resilience is needed for range retention to allow electric vehicles to travel longer distances between charges and have better overall total life mileage. This is particularly important for the two-thirds of Americans who prefer the more economical option of purchasing used vehicles rather than leasing or buying new cars.
In addition to unveiling the EVs4ALL program, DOE announced US$ 3.1 billion in funding to boost production of advanced batteries, which are critical to supporting the creation of new, retrofitted, and expanded commercial facilities and demonstrations that manufacture battery materials, cell components, and batteries, along with battery recycling. DOE also announced a separate US$ 60 million to support second-life applications for batteries once used to power electric vehicles, as well as new processes for recycling materials back into the battery supply chain. Both funding opportunities, authorized by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will strengthen our domestic battery supply chain, spur the creation of clean energy jobs, and support the president’s goal to have electric vehicles make up half of all vehicle sales in America by 2030.
Last year, in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains, DOE issued a 100-day review of the large capacity battery supply chain which recommended establishing domestic production and processing capabilities for critical materials to support a fully domestic end-to-end battery supply chain. In total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law directs nearly US$ 7 billion to strengthen the U.S. battery supply chain, which includes producing and recycling critical minerals without new extraction or mining and sourcing materials for domestic manufacturing.
Visit the ARPA-E website for more information about EVs4ALL, including key guidelines and dates for applicants.