Building the U.S. Battery Industry for Electric Drive Vehicles: Summary of a Symposium (2012)
Since 1991, the National Research Council, under the auspices of the Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy, has undertaken a program of activities to improve policymakers' understandings of the interconnections of science, technology, and economic policy and their importance for the American economy and its international competitive position. The Board's activities have corresponded with increased policy recognition of the importance of knowledge and technology to economic growth. The goal of the this symposium was to conduct two public symposia to review and analyze the potential contributions of public-private partnerships and identify other relevant issues for the Department of Energy, Office of Vehicle Technologies, Energy Storage Team's activities in the energy storage research and development area. The symposia will also identify lessons from these and other domestic and international experiences to help inform DoE as to whether its activities are complete and appropriately focused. Additional topics that emerge in the course of the planning may also be addressed. Building the U.S. Battery Industry for Electric Drive Vehicles: Summary of a Symposium gathers representatives from leading battery manufacturers, automotive firms, university researchers, academic and industry analysts, congressional staff, and federal agency representatives. An individually-authored summary of each symposium will be issued.
The symposium was held in Michigan in order to provide direct access to the policymakers and industrial participants drawn from the concentration of battery manufacturers and automotive firms in the region. The symposium reviewed the current state, needs, and challenges of the U.S. advanced battery manufacturing industry; challenges and opportunities in battery R&D, commercialization, and deployment; collaborations between the automotive industry and battery industry; workforce issues, and supply chain development. It also focused on the impact of DoE's investments and the role of state and federal programs in support of this growing industry. This task of this report is to summarize the presentations and discussions that took place at this symposium. Needless to say, the battery industry has evolved very substantially since the conference was held, and indeed some of the caveats raised by the speakers with regard to overall demand for batteries and the prospects of multiple producers now seem prescient. At the same time, it is important to understand that it is unrealistic to expect that all recipients of local, state, or federal support in a complex and rapidly evolving industry will necessarily succeed. A number of the firms discussed here have been absorbed by competitors, others have gone out of business, and others continue to progress.