Advanced Batteries

Technical Applications


Batteries are the most common electric energy storage system. Currently many different types of batteries are used in a wide variety of applications, from high-power density lead acid starter batteries in automobiles to light-weight nickel cadmium batteries for powering consumer electronics.


To enable new uses in transportation or military applications, however, battery technology will need to improve in several dimensions. For use in electric cars, batteries must achieve currently unavailable levels of energy density (range), power density (acceleration), cycle life (lifetime), and low cost. They must also have minimal environmental impacts, and be safe, convenient, and reliable for consumer use.


Advanced batteries make a contribution to economic prosperity in several ways. They are a subject of an industry led R&D consortium, U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium, which includes the Big Three automakers, EPRI, and the Department of Energy. Batteries are also important to the Partnership for New Generation Vehicles which, if successful, would make a contribution toward improving the competitiveness of U.S. automobile manufacturers in domestic and world markets. Advanced batteries are an environmentally friendly technology because they may enable zero-emission vehicles, making a significant contribution to improving environmental quality.


Japanese advanced batteries are slightly lagging U.S. capabilities, although aggressive research is improving the Japanese position. European firms are slightly behind U.S. firms in battery technology. No single country has a clear lead in electric vehicle battery technology.