10-14-2013, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Sacramento California
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Ford Invests in University of Michigan Battery research Lab
|Ford has invested $2.1 million into a new battery research lab at the University of Michigan. The $8 million lab will enable the automaker, university, and battery manufacturers and suppliers to test experimental battery technology before investing in large-scale production.
In addition to small-scale battery concept testing, Ford expects the new lab to accelerate battery chemistry research, while reducing risk to and cost to manufacturers and suppliers. The automaker aims to develop smaller, lighter, and less costly batteries for future hybrid and electric vehicles with a longer range than current models.
“We have battery labs that test and validate production-ready batteries, but that is too late in the development process for us to get our first look,” said Ted Miller, who manages battery research for Ford, in a release. “This lab will give us a stepping-stone between the research lab and the production environment, and a chance to have input much earlier in the development process.”
While Ford is the only automaker to invest in the new battery lab, other funding came from the University of Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Last year, the automaker invested $135 million in battery-related research, production, and testing.
“It is way too early in the battery race to commit to one type of battery chemistry,” said Miller. “In the span of 15 years, the industry has gone from lead-acid to nickel-metal-hydride to the lithium-ion batteries used in Ford C-MAX and Ford Fusion hybrids on the road today.”
Currently, Ford sells five hybrid, PHEV, and EV models equipped with lithium-ion batteries. That number could increase as battery technology becomes more efficient and affordable. Earlier this year, BMW and Toyota announced a technology sharing plan that includes lithium-air batteries.