Ford accelerates battery R&D; with new global centre in Michigan

by Michael Green
Hau Thai-Tang: 'Investing in more battery R&D; will help speed the process to deliver lower cost EVs'. Photo: Ford
Ford is to open a new global battery centre in Michigan, to accelerate research and development of batteries and cell technology – including future battery manufacturing.

The car manufacturer said its new Ford Ion Park complex would house a $185m (£133m) "collaborative learning lab”, to open late next year, which will be dedicated to developing, testing and building vehicle battery cells and cell arrays.

The 200,000 sq ft learning lab will include pilot-scale equipment for electrode, cell and array design and manufacturing. Ford said the lab "will pilot new manufacturing techniques to quickly scale breakthrough battery cell designs with novel materials, once the company vertically integrates battery cells and batteries”.

'Speed the process'

Ford has yet to announce specifics of the battery tech it intends to develop. However, the company’s chief product platform and operations officer, Hau Thai-Tang, said: "Investing in more battery R&D; ultimately will help us speed the process to deliver more, even better, lower cost EVs for customers over time.”

"We’re already scaling production of all-electric vehicles around the world as more customers experience and crave the fun-to-drive benefits of electric vehicles with zero emissions.”

Activities at Ford Ion Park will be supported by work already under way at the Battery Benchmarking and Test Laboratory Ford opened last year in the city of Allen Park in Michigan. The company said that lab has already analysed more than 150 types of battery cells.

Ford has assembled hybrid battery packs and electric motors in Michigan since 2012, after making the state its centre of excellence for vehicle electrification in 2010.

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