Ford Motor Company (F) And University Of Michigan Partner On New Battery Lab

Posted Oct 14, 2013

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and the University of Michigan has partnered on a new $8 million battery lab.  The battery lab opened today and it will help Ford develop batteries that are smaller, lighter, and less expensive.  This lab was designed to support pilot projects.

“We have battery labs that test and validate production-ready batteries, but that is too late in the development process for us to get our first look,” stated Ted Miller, a battery research executive at Ford.  “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.”

The lab is in collaboration between Ford, the University of Michigan, battery suppliers, state governments, and federal governments.  Ford contributed $2.1 million to the facility.  Other investors include the University of Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Ford has been researching batteries for more than 20 years.  Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) spent $135 million in designing, engineering, and producing key battery components.  They also doubled their battery testing capabilities. Ford accelerated their durability testing with test batteries now accumulating 150,000 miles and 10 years’ life in around 10 months.

“It is way too early in the battery race to commit to one type of battery chemistry,” added Miller. “In the span of 15 years, the industry has gone from lead-acid to nickel-metal-hydride to the lithium-ion batteries used in Ford C-MAX and Ford Fusion hybrids on the road today. Others in the auto industry have placed their bets, but we are convinced a better solution will require input from a multitude of partners.”