Ford Partners With University of Michigan On Battery Lab

2014 Ford Focus Electric

Ford and the University of Michigan have partnered to open a one-of-a-kind battery lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The purpose of this new lab will be to speed the development of cheaper and longer-lasting batteries that can be used in future electric vehicles.

The lab will cost about $8 million to build and will be located within the Phoenix Memorial Laboratory at the university’s Energy Institute. The idea behind the lab is to create a facility that combines aspects of both a research lab and a production environment in one location while still protecting the intellectual property of firms and individuals.

In addition to battery prototyping, the lab will allow researchers to test battery life cycles. They’ll be able to recreate the wear and tear that happens to batteries over the course of 150,000 miles driven over a decade.

Funding for this unique facility will only come partly from Ford. Additional funds are being contributed to the project by the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Although clearly Ford’s biggest interest is in the development of batteries for electric vehicles, the lab’s research won’t be limited to that one application. They will be working on technologies that can benefit car batteries, smart phones, and everything in between.

The lab will also have an interesting mix of researchers working on these new technologies. Students from the university will work in the lab and access to the facility will also be provided to those working in the automotive and even nonautomotive industries. This all helps the end goal of creating better, more efficient batteries in all devices, not just Ford’s cars.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held by Ford and the University of Michigan today, but it’s going to be awhile yet before the project is anywhere near completion. Current plans call for it to open sometime in the Fall of 2014.

Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.