IonQ, a pioneer in trapped-ion quantum computing, and Hyundai Motor Company recently announced a collaboration to create new variational quantum eigensolver (VQE) algorithms for studying lithium compounds and their chemical reactions in battery chemistry. VQE is an algorithm for determining the set of values that will be used to solve a particular optimization problem. The variational principle is used by the method to determine the base state energy of a Hamiltonian or the rate of change in the condition of a dynamic physical system over time. The precision of traditional approaches is limited due to computational constraints.
The partners will create a battery chemistry model that can be run on a quantum computer to simulate the structure and energy of lithium oxide. The goal is to improve lithium battery performance, cost, and safety. Chemical simulation and computational acceleration enabled by quantum computers are projected to greatly improve the quality of next-generation lithium-ion batteries, resulting in better capacity and endurance. These features may make EVs more enticing to consumers. The model should be able to more correctly simulate and control chemical reactions within the battery during charging and discharging than previous models. This discovery, according to Hyundai, has the potential to lead to new types of beginning materials that will make batteries cheaper and easier to manufacture in the future.
According to IonQ CEO Peter Chapman, batteries continue to be the most difficult engineering hurdle in EV development, accounting for up to half of an EV’s overall production cost. Because of these exorbitant expenses, EVs are out of reach for the majority of consumers.“Cheaper batteries would bring costs closer in line with combustion cars and help drive faster and deeper adoption in the automotive market,” Chapman said in an interview. “Better batteries would also serve to make EVs more appealing. Many of the most common reasons customers cite for not being ready to make the switch — limited range, slow charging, and limited battery lifetime — could be solved with improved battery materials.”
“This creative collaboration with IonQ is expected to provide innovation in the development of basic materials in virtual space for various parts of the future mobility,” said TaeWon Lim, Executive Vice President and Head of Materials Research & Engineering Center at Hyundai Motor Group. “We’re excited to step into the upcoming quantum era and take advantage of the opportunities that await with more effective battery power.”
“We at IonQ believe in our mission to solve the world’s most complex problems through the ongoing development of our quantum computers, and we see global climate change as one such problem that we can help to tackle with quantum chemistry solutions,” said Peter Chapman, president, and CEO of IonQ. “Battery efficiency is one of the most promising emerging areas where quantum computing can make a difference.”
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Quantum Technology: Reducing error rates is one of the most difficult challenges in constructing quantum computers. IonQ’s trapped ion, which has a low error rate and strong connection between qubits, is one of the various methods for producing a qubit. IonQ’s quantum processor is controlled by laser beams and driven by atoms in 3D space to preserve stability. Qubit counting is gradually becoming the most important metric for assessing quantum processor power and capacity. When the number of qubits grows, however, a more precise and reliable statistic is necessary. Indeed, a smaller number of high-quality qubits can process more data than a large number of low-quality qubits, especially if their error rates are lower. “We’re using lasers to our advantage in a couple of different ways,” Chapman said. “Aside from allowing our system to operate at room temperature, lasers also enable us to customize our system and change the architecture to exactly what customers need. Our laser-controlling software is malleable and can be turned on and off. You can’t turn a physical metal wire on and off.” Chapman said, “Quantum computers are naturally suited for modeling molecular behavior because both are systems governed by quantum mechanics.”
The alliance announced that Hyundai aims to increase sales of its electric vehicles to 560,000 units by 2025. To achieve this, more than twelve battery-electric models are to be launched in the coming years. The Ioniq 5, the first model on the purely electric E-GMP platform has been on the market since last year, with more to follow. In Europe, Hyundai wants to stop selling internal combustion engines by 2035 and become a pure EV brand. Furthermore, because electric vehicles are critical to achieving global environmental goals, the cooperation provides another step in combating climate change. Transportation must be electrified and supported with other measures, such as extending the lifetime of electric vehicles to offset energy consumption from auto manufacture, to be entirely sustainable.
Electric vehicles make use of electric motors, a high-voltage, high-capacity battery pack, and a range of power management and powertrain technologies. Electric vehicles emit less pollution than conventional internal combustion vehicles, despite their high sticker prices. True sustainability, however, necessitates improved battery technology that lessens the pressure on power systems, even becoming a grid component themselves. Future electric vehicles will necessitate better batteries made from more efficient materials that can replace cobalt, reducing environmental impact and increasing range.