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Driving electric cars further

Courtesy Department of Chemistry Photography

Major new research into ways to extend the life of electric vehicle batteries and help electric cars go further will be led by Professor of Chemistry Clare Grey.

The project, headed by the University of Cambridge, is funded by the Faraday Institution, the UK’s independent national battery research institute. It says it is awarding funding to this research initiative, along with three others, "to ignite a revolution in UK battery research, and address battery challenges faced by industry." The funding for the four projects together will total up to £42 million.

The Cambridge-led project will receive up to £11.9 million to examine how environmental and internal battery stresses (such as high temperatures, charging and discharging rates) damage electric vehicle batteries over time.  Results will include the optimisation of battery materials and cells to extend battery life (and hence electric vehicle range), reduce battery costs, and enhance battery safety.

The other three projects included in the funding are battery system modelling, led by Imperial College London; recycling and reuse, led by the University of Birmingham; and next-generation solid-state batteries, led by the University of Oxford.

If successful, this research has the potential to radically increase the speed with which we are able to make the move to electric vehicles, as well as the speed with which we can decarbonise our energy supply, with obvious benefits to the environment.

A longer version of this article can be seen on the University of Cambridge research website