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Visiting scholar from Italy explores EV battery technology

Massimo CancianMassimo CancianThe most rewarding part of any project is seeing it come to life. That’s what drew Massimo Cancian to an internship opportunity at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in 2017. 

Cancian studied electronics engineering as both an undergraduate and graduate student in Italy. After he received his degrees, he wanted to research battery technology, specifically in the automotive industry.

“There were no classes for battery research in Italy,” Cancian said. “I knew that CAR was the right place to be.”

One of Cancian’s projects focuses on how energy providers will adapt to a growing electric-vehicle market. As electric vehicles become more popular, a weak power grid will struggle to provide enough energy during peak charge periods. To solve this, power companies can charge their own batteries during off-peak hours, and when a vast number of drivers are charging electric vehicles, power companies can provide the stored energy.

Cancian’s project explores this concept, but with a twist: Instead of using new batteries, his project implements second-life battery packs from old electric and hybrid vehicles. This recycling process reduces the environmental impact of electric vehicles even further.

Cancian's current project implements second-life battery packs from old electric and hybrid vehiclesCancian's current project implements second-life battery packs from old electric and hybrid vehiclesCancian’s second project is centered on battery research at the cell level, and its goal is to reduce battery development time and cost for automakers. These electromechanical models demonstrate the electrical and thermal characteristics of the batteries.

Cancian says that both projects are in their implementation stage; he’s excited to be in the final stretch.

“It’s very satisfying to see that your work and ideas have become something at the end,” Cancian said. “That’s what we are missing back in Italy—we don’t have that kind of correlation between the design phase and implementation. That’s what’s really cool about CAR in general.”

Written by Jake Berg, CAR writing intern.