3 of the Biggest EV Industry Challenges in the US and for the DoE
As the US attempts to move as quickly as possible towards a greener future, the EV industry has emerged as a pivotal player in the nation's sustainable transportation landscape. Amidst the surge in electrification, several challenges loom large and could cast shadows on the rapid growth and adoption of EVs. From infrastructure to supply chain to battery technology, how will the EV industry itself and the Department for Energy (DoE) make EVs more accessible?
Over the last few years, the EV industry in the US has boomed and the amount of EVs on American roads has increased exponentially. Indeed, while there were only 400,000 EVs in Q2 of 2018, there are approximately 1.7 million currently, the equivalent of a 325% surge. Moreover, during the first quarter 2022, new registrations of EVs jumped 60%. While these numbers are expected to continue to increase, the charging infrastructure in the US must be able to accommodate the growing number of EVs on the roads.
The DoE plays an important role in promoting the expansion of the infrastructure by providing grants for transportation decarbonization projects, such as charging stations, and other incentives. As such, the DoE announced $96 million to fund the decarbonization of domestic transport with an emphasis on expanding EV charging infrastructure. These allocated funds will primarily target three key areas: enhancing accessibility to EV charging, promoting the electrification of non-road vehicles to reduce emissions, and advancing the development of electric drive components and materials to improve the efficiency and affordability of EVs. Indeed, this will support the widespread adoption of EVs, and ensure a robust and accessible charging network is available for those without access to home charging and for those out on the road.
EV Development Projects
Only a few weeks ago, the DoE announced $87 million for projects through its Vehicle Technologies Office. These projects will encompass a wide spectrum of initiatives ranging from the expansion of convenient charging options, to increasing the future workforce and developing the key technologies that will enable a fully electrified transportation future.
Through this initiative, General Motors will be granted $7.5 million to support the development of a multilevel, inverter-integrated electric drive system. This funding is part of a broader initiative to accelerate the adoption of EVs and facilitate the growth of the sector while simultaneously managing the expected surge in electricity consumption efficiently. Indeed, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the transition to electric transportation could result in a demand increase of over 130 billion kWh on the nation's grid by 2050.
The sourcing of the required minerals and metals for EV batteries can present a challenge. Indeed, securing a sustainable and reliable supply of raw materials, or a steady source of recycled ones, is necessary to enable the continued growth of the EV industry. Furthermore, the DoE has been exploring initiatives to diversify and strengthen the domestic supply chain for these materials to reduce dependence on foreign sources.
To support this, the DoE announced $39 million in funding for 16 projects across 12 states to develop market-ready technologies that help the domestic supplies of critical elements needed for the clean energy transition to grow. The selected projects, led by a variety of universities, national laboratories, and the private sector, have the objective to create commercially viable technologies that will facilitate increased domestic production of copper, nickel, lithium, and cobalt among other metals.
Similarly, battery technology presents a major challenge for both the DoE and the US EV industry as the performance, range, and cost of batteries are crucial factors in determining their success and widespread adoption. Indeed, improving battery technology is a key focus that involves various aspects such as increasing energy density, reducing costs, and improving charging times. As such, the DoE has been investing in research and development to accelerate battery advancements. In Q2 2021, the DoE awarded $60 million to accelerate advancements in zero-emissions vehicles, while earlier this year, it announced $125 million for research to enable next-generation batteries and energy storage.
Bridging Gaps with Addionics
As the demand for EVs increases and the amount of them on the road follows, further breakthroughs are necessary to make EVs more accessible, usable and competitive. Addionics' Smart 3D Current Collectors lead to improved battery efficiency and energy density. Indeed, by harnessing these enhanced performance advantages, Addionics can effectively utilize more active materials while reducing the number of layers required. Consequently, a higher GWh is achieved while the charging time is improved. Furthermore, this solution can easily be integrated into existing and new manufacturing lines while being seamlessly scalable.