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Ford’s new battery lab sparks innovation

Ford Motor Co., US’s state of Michigan and the University of Michigan are teaming up to establish a unique $8m battery lab at the university’s Energy Institute. The new facility for prototyping, testing, and analysing batteries and the materials that go into them is expected to accelerate development of Michigan’s battery supply chain and enable rapid progress toward climate-friendly transportation.

The new lab will bring together materials scientists and engineers, as well as suppliers and manufacturers, to ease a bottleneck in battery development.

Ted Miller, who manages Ford’s battery research, said, “We need to be able to test hundreds of chemistries and cell designs, but they have to be tests that can translate from the lab to the production line.”

“Ford has battery labs that test and validate production-ready batteries, but nothing this far upstream,” said Miller. “This is sorely needed and no one else in the auto industry has anything like it.”

Energy storage is a limiting technology for vehicles powered by batteries. The new lab will enable the development of cost-effective, light-weight, high-energy-density batteries.

“This kind of collaboration is essential to addressing complex challenges like sustainable energy and efficient transportation. I want to thank our campus leaders, MEDC and Ford for having such a singular focus on developing solutions to such challenging energy issues,” said University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, announcing the establishment of the new lab on Monday.

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Current Issue October 2013