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Ford Goes Back to School – Teams up with U-Michigan on $8 Mil Battery Lab

Partnership aimed at development of new batteries, battery vehicles.

by on Oct.14, 2013

An engineer working at the new battery lab at the Univ. of Michigan sponsored, in part by Ford.

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.

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“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.

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Biden to Announce Battery Grants

Veep visit to Detroit comes as oil prices soar again.

by on Aug.05, 2009

While Vice President Joe Biden will discuss the economy during his Detroit visit, he's also expected to announce the first in what could be billions of dollars the federal government plans to invest in the development of an advanced battery development infrastructure.

While Vice President Biden will discuss the economy during his Detroit visit, he's also expected to announce the first in what could be billions of dollars the government plans to invest in an advanced battery development infrastructure.

Vice President Joe Biden will be taking a trip to Detroit, on Wednesday, where he’s expected to not only address issues of the economy and the struggling U.S. auto industry, but also to announce the first federal grants aimed at spurring the development of the nation’s nascent advanced battery industry.

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama announced plans to invest $2.4 billion to promote both the development of battery technology and the facilities to produce them, here in the U.S.  He noted that it was critical to stop ceding dominance in the field to other nations — notably Japan and China, which are considered furthest along in the development of lithium-ion technology.

Charge Up!

Charge Up!

Biden’s appearance at the quasi-private NextEnergy Center, a high-tech incubator, will come at an appropriate moment. After plunging to less than a quarter of last year’s peak, this past spring, oil prices have been steadily on the rise again, in recent weeks.  On Tuesday, bidding pushed petroleum up about $70 a barrel, again.  Though still barely half last year’s record, industry reports suggest the numbers could top $80 in the coming weeks.

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