Battery power offers some tremendous advantages over the conventional, internal combustion engine. It’s clean, efficient and can slash an owner’s energy bills substantially. There’s just one problem: the battery itself: costly, slow to charge and limited in range.
Coming up with better battery alternatives that can reduce costs, improve range – and yield more appealing battery-electric vehicles and hybrids is the ambitious goal of a new program partnering Ford Motor Co. and the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor-based campus opening up a new $8 million battery research lab.
“There’s a lot of hunger” for more advanced batteries than are available today, according to Ted Miller, manager of battery research at Ford.
The facility – created with a mix of public and private funding – is designed to handle research that neither traditional battery manufacturers, nor carmakers like Ford, can normally handle. That means developing and testing new chemistries specifically earmarked for automotive applications and focused upon getting any breakthroughs into the market as quickly as possible.