University of Michigan, Ford make new battery for future electric vehicles

October 14, 2013 12:00 AM

Ford and the University of Michigan recently announced a partnership in creating a new kind of battery to quicken the development of future electric vehicles. A new $8 million lab opened in Ann Arbor dedicated to making a more powerful, lighter and less expensive battery for electric and electric-hybrid cars. According to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, these vehicles still make up only 4 percent of cars being sold today, even though the U.S. Department of Energy reports they require less vehicle maintenance than any other car. The lack of sales can be partly attributed to the fact that the batteries of today do not provide the mileage range of traditional internal-combustion engines and the modern technology often adds thousands of dollars to the sticker price.

"This lab will give us a stepping-stone between the research lab and production environment, and a chance to have input much earlier in the development process," said Ted Miller, a manager of battery research for Ford. Last year the company invested $135 million in design and production of key battery components in an attempt to heighten the strength of existing battery technology. 

Although electric car battery research is still in its beginning stages, the effort is clearly being made by Ford and others to make sure the hybrid car boom stays prevalent, which will have a lasting effect on the auto repair and sales industries.

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