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Computer-Aided Engineering for Electric-Drive Vehicle Batteries

Graphic of a 24-cell module battery prototype.

GM pack-level validation of CAEBAT tool using prototype for 24-cell module. Left: CAD geometry model. Right: FLUENT simulations. Images: Courtesy of GM

Graphic of stack pouch, wound cylindrical, and wound prismatic battery cells.

NREL enhancements to the framework functionality of cell domain models provided complete tool sets for CAEBAT partner simulation of all major cell form-factors (from left to right): stack pouch, wound cylindrical, and wound prismatic cells. Images: NREL

Graphic showing external battery case and two variations of wound prismatic cell configuration.

CD-adapco model construction showing external battery case and two variations of wound prismatic cell configuration for combined flow, thermal, and electrochemical simulation using CAEBAT tools. Images: Courtesy of CD-adapco

Graphic showing a range of wound prismatic battery cell configurations.

NREL's MSMD model quantifies the impacts of electrical/thermal pathway design on uneven charge-discharge kinetics in a wide range of large-format wound prismatic cells. Images: NREL

Graphics of Li-ion battery cells and packs.

Thermal-electrochemical models of Li-ion battery cells and packs. Wound electrode cell performance simulation (top left); time evolution of short in a prismatic cell (top right); pack simulation with cooling (bottom). Images: Courtesy of EC Power

The Computer-Aided Engineering for Electric-Drive Vehicle Batteries (CAEBAT) project is accelerating the development and lowering the cost of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for next-generation electric-drive vehicles (EDVs) by:

  • Developing engineering tools to design cells and battery packs
  • Shortening the battery prototyping and manufacturing processes
  • Improving overall battery performance, safety, and lifespan
  • Reducing expenses related to battery development and production.

NREL brings its predictive computer simulation of Li-ion batteries, known as a multi-scale multi-dimensional (MSMD) model framework, to the CAEBAT project. MSMD's modular, flexible architecture connects the physics of battery charge/discharge processes, thermal control, safety, and reliability in a computationally efficient manner. This allows independent development of submodels at the cell and pack levels.

NREL coordinates the CAEBAT project for the Vehicle Technologies Office of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

Industry Teams

After a competitive selection process, NREL awarded subcontracts worth $7 million to the following three industry teams:

Each team is working independently to develop and validate modeling and design tools for EDV batteries, with an emphasis on integrating electrochemical, electrical, mechanical, and thermal physics. Teams are also exploring different chemistries, cell geometries, and battery pack configurations.

These industry partners are contributing 50% of project costs, bringing the overall budget to $14 million for three years.

In support of the CAEBAT project, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is developing an open-architecture software interface to link the models developed by different teams into the CAEBAT suite of tools. ORNL is also developing input-output interfaces to allow utilization of models across different platforms.


NREL's Publications Database offers a wide variety of documents related to the development of batteries and energy storage systems for EDVs. The following publications document CAEBAT project activities:


For more information on CAEBAT activities, contact Gi-Heon Kim, 303-275-4437.