Each year, USCAR recognizes peer-nominated individuals for their outstanding contributions to their respective teams with Special Recognition Awards.
The Special Recognition Award is designed to recognize individual participants who excelled in the past year and demonstrated their exceptional commitment to USCAR by going above and beyond expectations. It recognizes those whose leadership inspires their teams to achieve greatness.
Those being recognized for work in 2020 are: Renata Arsenault and Jeff Luther from Ford; Paul Najt, Anil Sachdev, Greg Shanahan (retired) and Mark Smith from GM; Oliver Gross from Stellantis; and Brian Cunningham from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Serving as chair and project manager, Renata Arsenault (Ford) led the USABC Battery Recycling Work Group’s development of a robust technology portfolio, demonstrating the technical and economic viability of recycling Lithium-Ion cells back into automotive grade battery products.
Renata’s vision and collaborative skills have encouraged other developers to strike towards similar achievements. By achieving a pathway to technical and cost parity between recycled and virgin active materials, a new industry crucial to large scale adoption of electrified vehicles has been enabled.
Our Member Companies can look forward to large-scale industrialization of lithium-ion batteries, while accommodating the long-term life cycle aspect that this commodity brings.
Brian Cunningham (US Department of Energy [DOE]) manages the entire USABC portfolio on behalf of DOE. As such, he is involved in every facet of USABC, actively involved on many programs spanning all technology areas, instrumental in coordinating testing across the national labs, and DOE lead on every RFPI.
Brian is a valuable workgroup member and ensures programs are well-aligned with OEM needs and DOE research priorities, testing resources are judiciously allocated and that cost and technology targets remain sufficiently aggressive in a rapidly evolving landscape. This requires a unique mastery of a breadth of technical areas.
Perhaps the greatest direct value Brian has consistently brought to USABC is through his active role in shaping literally all of the SOWs for new programs in his capacity as DOE RFPI lead for all application areas. In this role, he has leveraged his breadth of technical expertise, and purview of related DOE R&D activities to strengthen the development plans for each program, highlight the potential pitfalls and ensure that test plans were structured to expose technology weaknesses.
Oliver Gross (Stellantis) led the ZenLabs project team to deliver cells with a demonstrated fast charge of 90% energy in 15 minutes, that met 90% of the cycle life goal and had a cell cost of <$100/kWh. The demonstrated fast charge capability of the cell decreases customer concern for long recharge times, an increased cycle life decreases customer concern about battery life and decreased driving range with time, and the decreased cost of the cell increases the potential for our Members to offer these vehicles at a price acceptable to the typical consumer.
Oliver also guided the project team to develop revised test methods and criteria that were subsequently adopted and distributed for use by other USABC EV programs. These test methods and standards can be used by our Members to benchmark and evaluate potential cells for use in their vehicles.
Jeff Luther (Ford), project leader of the Error Proofing, In-Process Non-Destructive Evaluation Team, developed testing methodology, protocols and matrix to evaluate the capability of a pre-opened, pre-position (POPP) clamp assembly and error detection system used in production. He also led and performed measurement system analysis to determine detection system reproducibility, repeatability, accuracy and factory floor first-time capability.
Methodologies and testing protocols developed by Jeff delivered the data and identified a path to best use practices and potential failure modes to avoid when using the error detection system to assemble POPP clamps. His efforts, leadership and contribution accelerated efforts to solving a large majority of the issues associated with the inability to detect unreleased clamps in production and provided the necessary feedback to the assembly tool and error detection equipment supplier in addressing needed improvements to mitigate (and eliminate) identified system problems to assemble POPP clamps in production.
In 2020, Paul Najt (GM) led the U.S. DRIVE Net-Zero Carbon Fuels Tech Team to evaluate several low carbon intensity fuel production processes for their life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rates and calculated minimum fuel selling price estimates. Paul’s persuasive leadership helped steer all parties to develop a comprehensive study plan and its first year-end report.
Paul also led the Net-Zero Carbon Liquid Fuels Benchmarking Study by FEV to successful completion in just a few short months. The USCAR Fuels Working Group now has very solid techno-economic fuel process data.
The two Net-Zero Carbon Fuel techno-economic analysis projects are helping USCAR once again demonstrate its auto industry leadership with the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Labs, and the Energy industry. Because of Paul’s leadership, experience, and sincere interest in developing equitable comparative analysis on potential paths to lowering transportation carbon emissions, the USCAR Fuels Working Group has been able to quickly prepare its members for future efforts around a range of Future Fuels from a variety of feedstocks and pathways.
Anil Sachdev (GM) singlehandedly negotiated the manufacture and delivery to USAMP of custom Magnesium alloys with POSCO/South Korea after the original supplier dropped out at the outset of the project. Availability of the POSCO Mg sheet enabled successful on time completion of the project. Additionally, Anil’s work helped to dramatically improve Mg model fidelity through inclusion of custom crystal plasticity simulations.
Three main issues have impeded broader application of Mg sheet in automotive: (1) formability, (2) corrosion/lubrication, (3) room temperature stampability. Regarding (1), a new phenomenological model (MAT233+) that accounts for relevant deformation mechanisms and texture, was implemented in a commercial FE code commonly used in automotive forming and performance simulations. This achievement, which was only possible once the POSCO sheet became available, now enables accurate prediction of forming limit curves spanning tension to balanced biaxial deformation. Regarding (2), experimental Mg-Ca-Zn ternary alloys, developed by USAMP in concert with the POSCO alloys, have pushed forming closer to room temperature. Regarding (3), the pre-treatments/lubricants developed using the POSCO Mg sheet suggested means to address corrosion and lubrication in body shops. Key results were disseminated through several domestic and international oral presentations and numerous scientific publications.
Greg Shanahan (GM) has shown consistent leadership in the EWCAP group as the company lead for General Motors. He initiated and led key projects related to electrical connector reliability design and testing, including an improved current rating technique for high performance terminals and a method to provide process assurance for connector mating.
Both projects improve the reliability of electrical connectors and terminals. This is a key enabler for automated driving and improved vehicle performance.
Having a performance advantage in terminal and connector technology gives the member companies a commercial advantage.
Mark Smith (GM) assembled OEM subject matter expert teams, developed and authored project Statements of Work, secured funding and vetted/selected appropriate technical strategic planning suppliers to create manufacturing technology roadmaps to advance Additive Manufacturing (AM) and Smart Manufacturing (SM) strategic initiatives within the Manufacturing TLC.
These roadmap efforts initiated by, and under the visionary leadership of Mark, identify and establish short and longer term USCAR projects that aid in closing AM and SM technical gaps. Furthermore, the roadmaps guide and deliver a unified and organized voice of our Member needs to AM & SM industries (machine builders, material providers, service bureaus, etc.) and create a greater incentive for directed future development at USCAR in areas of AM and SM strategic initiatives.