Most of today's electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries—the same kind of batteries used in cell phones and laptop computers. Currently, most Li-Ion batteries used in EVs provide a driving range limited to 100 miles on a single charge and account for more than half of the total cost of the vehicle. To compete in the market with gasoline-based vehicles, EVs must cost less and drive farther. An EV that is cost-competitive with gasoline would require a battery with twice the energy storage of today's state-of-the-art Li-Ion battery at 30% of the cost.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Applied Materials is developing new tools for manufacturing Li-Ion batteries that could dramatically increase their performance. Traditionally, the positive and negative terminals of Li-Ion batteries are mixed with glue-like materials called binders, pressed onto electrodes, and then physically kept apart by winding a polymer mesh material between them called a separator. With the Applied Materials system, many of these manually intensive processes will be replaced by next generation coating technology to apply each component. This process will improve product reliability and performance of the cells at a fraction of the current cost. These novel manufacturing techniques will also increase the energy density of the battery and reduce the size of several of the battery's components to free up more space within the cell for storage.
If successful, Applied Materials' new manufacturing process would enable production of low cost, high energy density batteries that improve the driving range and lifespan of EVs, thus making EVs more affordable and attractive to consumers.
Increased use of EVs would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil—the transportation sector is the dominant source of this dependence.
Greater use of EVs would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.
This battery would enable an EV to travel from Chicago to St. Louis (300 miles) on a single charge, for less than $10 on average.