Students at the Science and Engineering Research Facility at the University of California San Diego study reuse of Cummins electric vehicle (EV) battery packs.

Cummins will begin a multi-year partnership with the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) and its battery validation lab to analyze viable business and technical approaches to reuse and repurpose electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

UC San Diego will perform accelerated testing and real-world application testing to develop an outdoor, second-life demonstration system comprised of Cummins battery modules. Cummins will acquire valuable data on the aging behaviors of its battery modules, test integration solutions for second-life battery systems, and validate stationary energy storage system performance under grid energy storage applications.

“It’s crucial that we focus on the sustainability of the entire product life cycle,” says Julie Furber, vice president of Electrified Power, Cummins. “One piece of the puzzle that requires additional research is the second life of batteries.”

Batteries retired from electric vehicles maintain significant life, which could be suitable for less-demanding applications, providing more value and increasing sustainability by postponing recycling.

Cummins Inc.

University of California San Diego

Battery safety

A lithium-ion battery design package incorporates HYDRA TRS and LYRA ISC Trigger Cell technologies, allowing users to focus on improving battery safety by managing thermal runaway of lithium-ion batteries during application, storage, and shipping.

KULR Technology Group

EV testing

Millbrook Revolutionary Engineering (Millbrook RE) has opened a 25,000ft² electric vehicle (EV) driveline test facility near San Francisco, California, with high- speed input motor testing equipment capable of up to 20,000rpm. It also offers vehicle-in-the-Loop (VIL) test capabilities and battery simulators. Four EV test stands provide enough capacity to perform approximately 2,880 test hours per month.

Millbrook Revolutionary Engineering

Battery separator coating

A Stanford-led research team’s coating could make lightweight lithium metal batteries safe and long lasting, potentially replacing fire-prone polymer lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles (EVs).

The coating significantly extended battery life by preventing formation of dendrites, tiny needlelike structures that pierce the separator between the battery’s positive anode and negative cathode, leading to thermal runaway, battery- speak for fires.

Lithium-metal batteries can hold at least one-third more power per pound than lithium-ion models because they use lightweight lithium for the positively charged end rather than heavier graphite.

“The capacity of conventional lithium-ion batteries has been developed almost as far as it can go,” says Stanford Ph.D. student David Mackanic. “It’s crucial to develop new kinds of batteries to fulfill the aggressive energy density requirements of modern electronic devices.”

The Stanford team combined coated anodes, where dendrites typically form, with standard cathodes to create fully operational batteries. After 160 cycles, their lithium metal cells delivered 85% of the power that they did in their first cycle.

The coating creates a network of molecules that deliver charged lithium ions to the electrode uniformly, preventing unwanted chemical reactions that can lead to dendrite formation on the anode.

Stanford University