A US research agency is allocating $36 million (£23.1 million) of funding to 22 projects around the country to ease “range anxiety” for drivers considering electric vehicles (EVs).
The grants are awarded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) as part of the Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems (RANGE) programme. Its aim is to rapidly increase the uptake of electric vehicles by dramatically improving their range, reliability and safety.
The funding will be used to completely re-design entire battery systems, rather than tinkering with individual battery cells to squeeze out a little more juice.
More than $12 million (£7.7 million) is set to be awarded to projects looking at multifunctional battery systems. They are hoping to cut down on weight by developing batteries that can form part of a vehicle’s structure or be used to absorb the impact of collisions.
The largest single grant went to chemical company BASF – in line to receive $4 million (£2.6 million) to develop batteries that don’t require rare earth metals, the supply of which is monopolised by China.
Cheryl Martin, the Deputy Director at ARPA-E said: “The success of RANGE battery technologies will reshape our thinking on EV storage and help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources, decrease emissions and help maintain our technological lead in R&D.”