Ford and the University of Michigan have joined forced and built an $8 million battery lab to develop "new battery concepts that are smaller, lighter and less expensive to produce" than today's lithium-ion technology.” They will start by concentrating on small scale "pilot projects" conducted in cooperation with battery cell manufacturers, suppliers, etc. and eventually adapting those that prove successful for full-scale manufacture.
According to Ted Miller, who manages Ford’s battery research unit, "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."
Ford presently offers 5 “green” hybrid and all-electric vehicle models, which currently comprise the company’s fastest-growing market segment.
The company has committed $2.1 million in the project. The remainder of funding has been provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in conjunction with the United States Department of Energy.