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NEMA releases summary report on Advanced Batteries Café; focus on plug-in vehicles and stationary storage

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has released a report by Energetics Inc. on the Advanced Batteries Café, hosted in cooperation with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on 1 September 2010, in Rosemont, Illinois. The focus of the meeting was on plug-in vehicle batteries (plug-in hybrids [PHEVs] and battery-electric vehicles [BEVs]) and batteries for large and small stationary energy storage applications.

Discussion at this café was focused on identifying issues having a positive or negative impact on creation and maintenance of a market-driven US battery industry. Participants explored a vision for the future, broad drivers and issues (political, societal, economic, other), and technical barriers and challenges, including measurement.

A robust US battery industry will require the US to have a solid manufacturing base that can readily accept innovations in process and technology from our universities, small companies, and national laboratories, converting them into a sustainable competitive advantage domestically and globally. While the US is an emerging player in electric vehicle battery manufacturing—thanks to a major infusion of federal financial support under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)—we are a longway from that ideal.

—Summary Report

The one-day invitational café, facilitated by Energetics, brought together experts from the battery industry, academia, national laboratories, and government agencies. For much of the discussion, café participants were grouped by topic: (1) vehicular batteries (BEVs and PHEVs), or (2) stationary batteries for energy storage applications. Following each round of small group discussion, café participants reconvened as a whole to compare notes and raise additional questions.

Gasoline prices would need to be about $6/gallon before EVs are cost competitive. Currently, EVs are a luxury item purchased by people who have well-established driving patterns. We need to develop an infrastructure to help overcome the “activation barrier” to wider use. A competitive price is the key, with safety, reliability, and convenience also major issues. Among the topics to consider: battery ownership, charging costs, and charging convenience.

—Summary Report

Café attendees explored issues facing an industry with many activities taking place concurrently in a wide open market that lacks a central focus. Common concerns included the areas of battery safety, quality assurance, logistics and supply chains, warranty issues, and lack of a cohesive industry voice. Industry participants expressed that collaborative marketing and business development strategies solutions might be developed in cooperation.

Additionally, a collaborative third-party testing solution might help to foster the emergent and dynamic advanced battery industry.

In addressing the need for standards to support testing, the report cautions that standards implemented too soon could falsely constrain further development and/or start the industry down the wrong path.

The Advanced Batteries Café was a collaborative effort of NIST and NEMA under NIST’s External Needs Assessment workshop series, which provides opportunities for customers and stakeholders to lay out external drivers and/or opportunities for specific technology focus areas, and NEMA’s Energy Storage Council (ESC), which was established in 2008 to advocate for policies, necessary standards, and funding to ensure market adoption and swift commercialization of advanced applications of energy storage technologies to be safely and effectively integrated with the electrical grid.

The results of the café will be used to outline actions that need to be taken, in the short and long term, to enable a viable US battery industry. NEMA plans to use the Energetics report as a call to action for advanced battery performance, for safety and testing standards, and to request additional legislation in support of the advanced battery industry.

NEMA is the association of electrical and medical imaging equipment manufacturers.


  • Advanced Batteries Café Summary Report



Gas to be $6/gal for (current) BEVs to be competitive. This condition ($6/gal gas) may never happen in USA. Passing a new $0.15/gal tax may be as difficult as winning one of the on-going war. The only way to get $6/gal gas in USA would be with $350/barrel oil.

However, even if impossible, it makes sense. This compared competitive cost could change as BEVs and Batteries technologies mature and worldwide mass production is fully engaged. By 2020+, $4.50/gal gas may do it.


I am looking to get off of oil as much as the next guy

but 6 dollar gas in the US would mean 10 dollar milk and 20 dollar tomatoes. We would all have to be millionaires in order to go to the store


We can assume that OPEC and friends will break their collective arse to prevent $6-10 gas in the U.S.. Likewise China will continue to import trillions of barrels of oil at subsidized prices to maintain their auto industry.

So, the challenge is to compete against $4-5 gasoline which will arrive as $100/barrel oil appears. But sales of EV and low carbon vehicles also depends on setting community standards.

i.e., by buying an EV you will keep a portion of the annual $450B foreign oil bill - at home. You help create jobs for neighbors and fellows. You lower security risks and likely save lives of military men and women. You also make for a cleaner, quieter environment and reawaken manufacturing in North America. Energy Independence is the watchword.

These are positioning points that MUST be emphasized to break through the OPEC oil price barrier. It may smack a bit jingoistic - but to fight oil, we need more than just economics.


Secretary Chu just said that EVs will be as cheap as ICE vehicles in 5 year time and that batteries performance with be up 2x+ and price will be down 50% or even more. That would make affordable highway capable EVs (with 60+ Kwh) almost a possibility by 2016.

Mr. Chu probably knows better than us what is coming five years down the line. For his predictions to become reality, he better find a way to commit all the required development and production funds in the next 20 months or before. Otherwise, it may never be done and we may have to import EVs from China and Oil from you know where for many more decades.


If we work on several fronts we can make more progress. True FFVs with bio and synthetic fuels, HEV/PHEV/EV with chargers at work, buses on CNG and trucks on DME will all help reduce OPEC oil imports.


You guys are right. I want also to emphasize the personal responsibility car buyers can adopt in the purchase decisions. With five or six reasons why buying EV/low carbon vehicles is a responsible act - we change more minds than with a single argument or reason.

Bob Wallace

Carlos Goshen (Nissan CEO) has stated that EVs will be roughly the same price as ICEVs once manufacturing levels reach 500,000 to 1,000,000 per year. There's nothing especially expensive in an EV in terms of materials, no handful of diamonds/whatever. High prices will come down with economies of scale.

Nissan is gearing up to produce 500,000 in 2012.


They might be able to produce 1 million per year, but it remains to be seen if the consumers will buy 1 million per year.

Bob Wallace

The world produces over 51 million cars per year. One million is less than 2% of the total produced.

Commercial fleets will suck up this much production. Corporations employee people who do cost analysis and if the business can purchase an adequately-ranged EV which costs significantly less to fuel/maintain/repair for the same amount as they would have to pay for an ICEV the decision to go electric will be quick and firm.

Add in all those other private individuals who can easily do their driving with a 100 mile range and who have a second car in the household for the occasional long trip and demand is quickly going to be for millions per year.

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