program and the battery pack Compact Power/LG Chem will supply to the GM Volt.

One reason behind this success is that the DOE develops detailed targets with its industry partners in the USABC, Mr. Howell said. “We don’t just suck these things out of our thumb,” he said. “We do a lot of analysis of how batteries operate in a vehicle. Then we come up with a set of performance goals that we manage our R&D projects toward.”

An example of such targets is to develop batteries for hybrids with 25 kilowatt discharge pulse power in 2010. “Auto companies may want 22, 30, or perhaps 40, but the point is this gets us into space of how a battery is supposed to operate in these types of vehicles,” Mr. Howell said. The goal is to push that power to 38 to 50 kilowatts by 2015 from plug-in hybrids and to 80 kilowatts for all-battery electric vehicles by 2020.

The DOE changed its focus in batteries to lithium in 2000 because nickel metal hydride technology was being commercialized, Mr. Howell explained. In particular, the DOE targeted lithium ion for conventional hybrids. “This was pretty much a success story for us,” he said. Most of the lithium ion chemistries that are now mature have been demonstrated to work for 300,000 cycles over a 10-year life, he noted.


FIGURE 15 DOE and USABC battery performance targets.

SOURCE: David Howell, Presentation at July 26-27, 2010 National Academies Symposium on “Building the U.S. Battery Industry for Electric Drive Vehicles: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities.”

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