Inside Quantum Technology

Ford and Quantinuum update on EV battery simulation project

Exploring ways to improve electric vehicle battery chemistry is becoming an increasingly popular use case for quantum computing. IonQ and Hyundai have been running a project with an EV battery focus, and Quantinuum and Ford Motor Company have as well. The latter two partners this week issued a case study on their progress.

Ford’s research into the chemistry of lithium-ion batteries used in EVs was aided by Quantinuum’s InQuanto quantum computational chemistry platform, and the case study was issued the same week that Quantinuum announced InQuanto Version 2.0. Ford first used InQuanto as part of the beta testing program in 2021, and Ford was a launch partner in May 2022 when the software was formally launched by Quantinuum.

Ford leveraged quantum computing in this case because, as it noted in the case study, “highly accurate simulations of complex, real-world molecules are beyond the reach of the most advanced classical computers, due to the large size of the problem space, which grows exponentially with the size of the system. Quantum computers overcome this, with their computational power capable of scaling exponentially.”

Researchers used the hybrid quantum-classical variational quantum eigensolver (VQE) algorithm for finding the ground state of a quantum mechanical system. “Using this hybrid approach, supported by Quantinuum’s quantum chemistry platform InQuanto, the team were able to work with molecules that are directly relevant to battery research. They also demonstrated a simulation that moves the field of quantum chemistry closer to being able to take on real-world problems on quantum computers.”

The case study concluded, “Benchmarking the performance of VQE methods against classical wavefunction-based methods, the team found that the results showed that VQE methods quantitatively agree with the results obtained from the classical methods.”

The battery market is expected to be worth more than $100 billion by 2025, and half of all those batteries will go into EVs. Quantum computing could play a role in the continued improvement of those batteries, and in other automotive industry use cases.

Dan O’Shea has covered telecommunications and related topics including semiconductors, sensors, retail systems, digital payments and quantum computing/technology for over 25 years.

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