Public Release: 

Electric Vehicle Advanced Battery R&D Moves To Phase II

Electric Power Research Institute

Palo Alto, Calif. -- October 24, 1996 -- The United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), comprised of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the Big Three U.S. automakers, and the U.S. Department of Energy, signed a $106 million agreement today to continue landmark research and development of advanced batteries for electric vehicles.

U.S. Secretary of Energy, Hazel O1Leary, and USABC Chairman, Robert Davis, signed the Phase II agreement at the headquarters of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) in Dearborn, Mich.

"Today's agreement reflects the Clinton administration1s continuing commitment to this unique public-private partnership," Secretary O1Leary said. "Developing batteries to power electric cars will not only allow them to compete with gasoline-powered vehicles, but it will also help to preserve our environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil."

At the signing ceremony, Clark Gellings, EPRI's vice president of Customer Systems noted that, "It is now more important than ever to maintain the momentum of battery development, and pursue the integration of advanced battery technologies in fully-engineered electric vehicles. The outlook is bright for advanced electric vehicles to play a significant role in our transportation systems."

Phase II of the new agreement allows USABC to continue reducing the costs of mid-term electric vehicle batteries and forge ahead with the development of long-term battery technologies that were identified and developed as part of the Phase I agreement, signed in 1991.

"In Phase I, we identified nickel metal hydride (NiMH) as the most promising mid-term technology and focused on helping key battery developers demonstrate manufacturing capabilities," said USABC's Davis.

"We also identified lithium-based batteries as the long-term solution to competitive electric vehicles and have worked successfully to demonstrate technical design feasibility for these technologies," he added.

USABC will continue testing the safety and durability of NiMH batteries and to develop manufacturing processes to lower costs and boost quality.

USABC is one of thirteen research and development consortia that make up USCAR, and is responsible for developing advanced battery systems that will provide increased range and improved electric vehicle performance.

EPRI has conducted research on electric transportation for nearly 20 years, including work on electric cars and buses, non-road vehicles such as airport shuttles and forklifts, electric batteries, and infrastructure development.

EPRI, established in 1973 and headquartered in Palo Alto, California, manages science and technology R&D for the electricity industry. More than 700 utilities are members of the Institute, which has an annual budget of some $500 million.

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