General Motors has received millions of dollars in federal funding from the US Department of Energy – a portion of which will go toward the development of an advanced solid-state battery for electric vehicles.
The Detroit-based automaker was given a total of $9.1 million by the US Department of Energy in 2019 for various “advanced vehicle technologies research” with $2 million of the funding earmarked to help fund the development of solid-state batteries.
Specifically, $1 million of the funding will go toward the “fundamental understanding of interfacial phenomena in solid-state batteries” while the remaining million dollars will help with the “hot pressing of reinforced all-solid-state batteries with sulfide glass electrolyte.”
A standard electric vehicle battery, such Chevrolet Bolt EV‘s, uses lithium-ions suspended in a liquid as the electrolyte, whereas a solid-state battery uses a conductive glass to substitute for the liquid. Batteries such as this hold as much as 2.5x the charge of a standard lithium battery, do not get as hot as a liquid battery, are lighter and are longer-lasting. They are extremely expensive and complicated to produce, however, making them unviable in automotive applications.
The remaining $7.1 million given to GM by the Department of Energy will go toward the development of a “low-mass and high-efficiency” engine that will be used in future medium-duty trucks. GM’s venerable 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V8 is currently used in its medium-duty trucks, but it seems as though it wants to develop a smaller, more efficient diesel or gas truck engine to replace it.
The Department of Energy’s announcement said development of the solid-state battery will take place in Warren, Michigan, presumably at GM’s Warren Technical Center. GM’s Global Propulsion Center in Pontiac, Michigan, meanwhile, will harbor development of the new medium-duty truck engine.