Compact, Interactive Electric Vehicle Charger

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Malibu, California
Project Term:
10/01/2010 - 06/30/2014

Technology Description:

HRL Laboratories is using gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors to create battery chargers for electric vehicles (EVs) that are more compact and efficient than traditional EV chargers. Reducing the size and weight of the battery charger is important because it would help improve the overall performance of the EV. GaN semiconductors process electricity faster than the silicon semiconductors used in most conventional EV battery chargers. These high-speed semiconductors can be paired with lighter-weight electrical circuit components, which helps decrease the overall weight of the EV battery charger. HRL Laboratories is combining the performance advantages of GaN semiconductors with an innovative, interactive battery-to-grid energy distribution design. This design would support 2-way power flow, enabling EV battery chargers to not only draw energy from the power grid, but also store and feed energy back into it.

Potential Impact:

If successful, HRL Laboratories would create an EV battery charger that is 1/10 the size of traditional silicon-based chargers and 20% more energy efficient. It would also lay critical building blocks for the smart grid, the advanced electrical infrastructure that will replace today’s outdated electrical grid.


This project could contribute to a smarter, more advanced, and more reliable power grid.


This project could help facilitate the widespread use of EVs—reducing the number of gas-powered vehicles on the road, and in turn reducing the harmful emissions that gas-powered vehicles create.


This project could help grow the U.S. EV manufacturing industry.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Timothy Heidel
Project Contact:
Dr. Karim Boutros
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


General Motors
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, LLC
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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