Ford opens new battery laboratory with University of Michigan

Article by Christian A., on October 17, 2013

A new battery laboratory will be opened by Ford Motor Co. and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to hasten the development of electrified vehicles. In a statement, Ted Miller, Ford's senior manager of energy storage strategy and research, said that the lab, which will cost $8 million, will be at the Phoenix Memorial Laboratory at the university's Energy Institute.

Miller said that it will be a "stepping stone between the research lab and the production environment” and stands for an opportunity to have input a lot earlier in the development process. He added that this lab is "sorely needed” and that there’s nothing else in the industry like it. The lab gets funding from Ford, state of Michigan's economic development corporation and the university's College of Engineering.

The lab is believed to become fully operational in the next fall. In a statement, the university said that with this lab, the researchers will be able to test battery structures and chemistries in bigger cells for more "power hungry devices from smartphones on up to electric vehicles."

According to Mark Barteau, the director of the university's Energy Institute, the lab will be offered to automotive and nonautomotive companies as well as students, giving developers a way to forecast how their batteries will perform during regular use and then make their designs better. 

“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. “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. This is sorely needed, and no one else in the auto industry has anything like it.” [source: Ford]

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