Active or passive thermal management and impact protection systems and materials are designed to increase passenger safety, battery efficiency, and battery lifetime of hybrid and electric vehicles.
Opportunities for Advanced Plastics and Polymer Composites
EVs have different cooling requirements than internal combustion engines, which may render certain types of vehicle grilles and front fascia obsolete, thereby creating opportunities for new advanced plastics-based front-end vehicle designs.36
Lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and thermally conductive polymers including adhesives, battery pack assemblies, and lithium-ion separators could improve vehicle safety and increase battery lifetime. Advanced polymer-based battery separators for lithium ion batteries can boost battery power by up to 30%, maintain temperature stability, and extend EV range under a single charge.37
Advanced polymer-based battery pack protection systems can protect vehicle batteries during impact events.
Thermal Management and Impact Protection
| ||Near (2020–2022)Mid (2023–2025)Long (2026–2030)
|*Increase collaboration efforts among NHTSA and key advocacy groups to develop collision test methods for vehicle battery systems||Near, Mid
Define application specifications and property requirements (including temperature, thermal conductivity, impact, fatigue, etc.) for plastic and polymer composites used in automotive thermal management and battery protection technologies
|Demonstrate benefits of commercial thermally conductive adhesives and gap-fillers for HEV/EV battery pack assemblies||Near
|Develop a set of guidelines for selecting appropriate thermal conductivity test methods for specific plastics/composites grades||Near
|Coordinate with automakers and battery developers to define long-term design needs for increased under-the-hood EV performance and increased vehicle range||Near, Mid
|Develop coupled multi-physics simulations (i.e., solid, fluid, thermal, electromagnetic) to improve the safety and efficiency of battery protection systems||Near, Mid
|Establish industry-wide standards or calibration steps to reduce the variability of thermal conductivity test results across different types of characterization instruments||Near, Mid
|Standardize test methods to assess both the safety and performance of materials used in automotive thermal management and impact protection technologies for batteries and electronics||Mid
|Identify industry-wide R&D demonstration opportunities to develop of new types of low-cost structural thermally conductive polymers for the manufacture of thermal management battery systems||Mid