Cloteam LLC, a startup company led by the battery expert Christina Lampe-Önnerud, who also founded Boston-Power Inc, was recently awarded a $3.5 million loan from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to develop electric vehicle energy storage systems using different designs.
This is one of 22 projects in 15 states that received $36 million for development of advanced, long range EV battery systems at a lower cost. The program behind the awards is the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program.
Cloteam is focused on developing battery packaging systems to package all kinds of batteries, rather than improving the batteries themselves. A battery is only as good as its battery management system!
If a battery management system is poorly designed, it can actually cause one or more little cells to fail, rendering the entire battery pack useless. I’m sure that some of the focus will be on inverter technology as well as motor technology — electric current from the batteries has to pass through both of these before they can propel vehicles, and they waste some of it, and hence, shorten range.
Founded in 2012, Cloteam will develop a system to join and package batteries using a wide range of battery chemistries. Unlike today’s battery pack design, Cloteam’s design enables strategical placement of battery packs to absorb and manage the impact energy from a collision. Cloteam’s batteries could provide greater energy density compared to today’s lithium-ion batteries, while reducing the costs associated with materials and processing, the DOE said. We’ll see….