Commercial Automotive Batteries Evaluated for DoD Energy Storage Program

GM Defense is supplying its commercial battery electric technology for evaluation under a DoD project, aiming to provide options for domestically supplied energy storage to be used in future military platforms By William Mackenzie / 28 Jun 2024
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GM Defense, a subsidiary of General Motors, is providing commercial battery electric technology in support of the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) Pulsed Power and Energy Laboratory (PPEL) and Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD), aiming to advance military battery technology.

Commercial Automotive Batteries Evaluated for DoD Energy Storage Program

The project, Evaluation of Electric Vehicle Batteries to Enable Directed Energy (EEVBEDE), is funded by the Operational Energy Innovation office of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), through its Operational Energy Capability Improvement Fund (OECIF). 

UTA PPEL will evaluate the technology to understand current capabilities of commercial automotive batteries under dynamic discharge and charge scenarios. The team’s evaluation of the technology will help provide pathways and options for domestically supplied energy storage for future use in military platforms.

GM Defense is leveraging GM’s Ultium Platform propulsion architecture, for evaluation and testing. The Ultium Platform can deliver power, range and scale beyond any previous GM hybrid or GM extended range EV technology. Modular and scalable, the Ultium Platform can use different chemistries and cell form factors, making it adaptable to changing needs and new technology insertions as they become available. 

Utilizing the battery technologies of its parent company, GM Defense sets out to help solve the DoD’s energy and energy storage challenges. The work performed in this new effort will provide insights into the performance and design considerations when batteries are used in more dynamic, high-power operations than would be faced by more typical applications. 

OECIF support plays a key role in the development of new power and energy technologies, which provide the DoD with advanced capabilities and help prevent power and energy from being a limiting factor.

GM Defense previously announced its participation in the Defense Innovation Unit’s Jumpstart for Advanced Battery Standardization (JABS) project. Similar to EEVBEDE, JABS is designed to evaluate and test high voltage battery systems to optimize commercial technologies. 

GM Defense provided a prototype of a battery system based on GM’s Ultium Platform for the project. Under the same contract, GM Defense demonstrated mission power capabilities by integrating a high-voltage battery pack into a light tactical utility vehicle. Key learnings from JABS will help inform the integration requirements of future battery electric defense solutions.

Steve duMont, president of GM Defense, commented; “The Department of Defense can benefit from billions of dollars in GM investments to develop and manufacture transformative battery technologies.

“These technologies offer significant potential to enhance operational capability, whether at the tactical edge or on installations throughout the world. GM Defense welcomes the opportunity to support this important project and to help transition our global defense and government customers.”

David Wetz, a professor of electrical engineering at UTA and director of the PPEL, added; “We are excited to work with GM Defense to test the Ultium Platform to determine its potential for use in future warfighting applications. PPEL has a long relationship with the DoD and the Office of Naval Research for testing the limits of batteries used in high power applications, and we are in a unique position to evaluate this technology and make recommendations for future use cases.”

Peter Crouch, dean of UTA’s College of Engineering, stated; “As a Carnegie R-1 university, UTA is committed to working with industry to better develop and understand the potential of new technology. This collaboration between PPEL, GM Defense and the DoD will not only improve our nation’s military capabilities, but also adds to our workforce development efforts producing next generation engineers who will solve our nation’s complex problems.”

Posted by William Mackenzie Connect & Contact
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