The auto industry is making a pivot to EVs, including GM, which has pledged to launch 30 new all-electric models by the 2025 calendar year. Of course, all these new EV models are going to need advanced battery technology to run, and now, the University of Michigan has received an $11 million federal grant to research next-generation ceramic battery tech for exactly that purpose.
Per a recent report from Automotive News, the new U.S. Department of Energy grant was announced this past Tuesday, and will fund the creation of the Energy Frontier Research Center at the University of Michigan. A team of six professors, in partnership with 10 faculty members from universities across the U.S., will lead the research efforts.
For now, lithium-ion batteries are the established go-to technology for electric vehicles. That includes GM’s Ultium battery system, which is currently in use in several GM EV models. Just a few examples include the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq luxury crossover.
By contrast, the new University of Michigan research will focus on the development of ceramic solid-state battery technology for use in future EV applications. According to researchers, the benefits of ceramic solid-state batteries over lithium-ion batteries include greater range and the elimination of fire risk.
However, at present, solid-state battery technology is not yet commercially viable, as not only are the batteries expensive to produce, but are also quite fragile. Researchers hope to address these issues in order to establish ceramic solid-state batteries for use in mass-produced EV models.
The new grant will be distributed over four years, with the university given the opportunity to apply for a four-year extension. The center will work alongside the university’s state-funded electric vehicle training center revealed this past July, and will tap researchers from across state lines.