Electric Vehicles

Sandia develops technology for electric vehicles and their supporting infrastructure. Our research advances battery safety and materials, power electronics, vehicle charging technology, and grid integration.

Battery Safety and Materials

Sandia engineers demonstrate how a drop tower built by Sandia abuses batteries to understand how the lithium-ion cells respond to different types of stress.
Sandia engineers demonstrate how a drop tower built by Sandia abuses batteries to understand how the lithium-ion cells respond to different types of stress.

Battery safety is a critical factor to battery technology’s widespread adoption in the electric vehicle marketplace. Any safety issues resulting from poorly designed vehicle batteries could destroy consumer confidence in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Sandia’s decades of experience in applied materials R&D, systems engineering, and abuse testing assists industry in implementing advanced, science-based safety features that can avoid such incidents.

Sandia’s goal is a science-based understanding of electrochemical atomic/molecular processes that is connected with the macroscopic response of packaged batteries to mitigate safety concerns, extend battery lifetimes, and increase battery efficiency through three coordinated thrusts:

  • Large-scale battery testing to measure critical thermochemical and thermophysical response phenomena that can provide detectable signatures of end-of-life degradation mechanisms,
  • In-situ nano-scale characterization to gain an atomistic understanding of these mechanisms, and
  • Multi-scale modeling, building predictive models linking atomistic processes with macroscopic responses.

These thrusts, using commercial materials and systems from industry partners, will enable the predictive simulations of battery performance so critically needed to increase battery material capacity, lifetime, and safety.

Kyle Fenton

(505) 284-3377


Power Electronics for Electric Drive Systems

Sandia’s power electronics research focuses on developing and evaluating optimized materials and components including wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductors as well as dielectric and magnetic materials. Sandia provides simple device prototyping and performance data for power electronics in stressing environments. Also, learn more about how Sandia contributes power electronics research for electrical grid control systems.

Robert Kaplar

(505) 844-8285


Electric Vehicle Integration

With increasing number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, Sandia researchers are developing cybersecurity threat and grid integration models to accelerate the safe and secure deployment of smart EV charging infrastructure on the nation’s power system. Learn more about Sandia’s research integrating renewable energy and distributed systems.

Modeling and Analysis: Understanding the Impact to Electric Grid Operations

An electric vehicle at a charging station.
An electric vehicle at a charging station.

Sandia conducts research on the impact of electric vehicle (EV) charging to distribution grid and bulk system operations, including the modeling of resilience events such as hurricanes that lead to grid outages or mass evacuations. This research explores possible concerns of EV charging, such as overloaded equipment or unsafe voltage levels. It also shows the benefits that controlled charging can have, such as increased EV hosting capacity, higher utilization of renewable energy, and reduced demand charges.

EV grid integration research has explored both mainland and island locations. Special consideration has been given to driving patterns, charger speeds, charging locations, and electric grid characteristics, all of which vary by location. This research has helped stakeholders such as electric utilities, EV charger developers, governments, and the public have a better understanding of how to take advantage of the benefits of EVs while minimizing the concerns.

Modeling and Analysis: Securing Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment

Electric vehicles integrated with the electrical grid.

As electric vehicles (EVs) become more prominent on our roads and in our communities, the risk for cyber attacks through vehicle charging stations increases. These attacks threaten not only the electric grid and transportation systems, but also personal privacy. Researchers have found these stations are the targets for cyber attack and, in some cases, they lack appropriate security measures.  EV charger vulnerabilities have been found in user and payment interfaces, maintenance ports, internet and cloud connections, and EV-to-charger communications.

Sandia—in partnership with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the US Department of Transportation, the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, and others—is working to address the cyber security of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Together, Sandia and its partners are creating a cyber security threat model and performing risk assessments of EVSE.

This effort is designed so that automotive, charging, and utility stakeholders can better protect their customers, vehicles, and power systems in the face of growing cyber threats. The project provides stakeholders with a strong technological basis for securing vehicle charging infrastructure from cyber threats.

Download the handout Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Cybersecurity Best Practices (PDF)

Summer Ferreira

(505) 844-4864


Jones, C.B.; Lave, M.; Vining, W.; Garcia, B.M. Uncontrolled Electric Vehicle Charging Impacts on Distribution Electric Power Systems with Primarily Residential, Commercial or Industrial Loads. Energies 2021, 14, 1688. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14061688
O’Neill-Carrillo, E.; Lave, M.; Haines, T. Systemwide Considerations for Electrification of Transportation in Islands and Remote Locations. Vehicles 2021, 3, 498-511. https://doi.org/10.3390/vehicles3030030