Automotive

Ford plans $185-million research hub for next-generation EV batteries

Ford plans $185-million resear...
Ford is exploring next-generation battery technologies for EVs through a newly announced research and development center
Ford is exploring next-generation battery technologies for EVs through a newly announced research and development center
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Ford is exploring next-generation battery technologies for EVs through a newly announced research and development center
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Ford is exploring next-generation battery technologies for EVs through a newly announced research and development center
Ford has revealed plans for a $185-million research and development center, to explore technologies around next-generation batteries
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Ford has revealed plans for a $185-million research and development center, to explore technologies around next-generation batteries

With a view to one day manufacturing its own battery cells for electric vehicles, Ford has revealed plans for a new research and development center to explore all aspects of the technology. The company's new global hub for battery research will focus on developing next-generation lithium-ion and solid-state batteries, and will pilot manufacturing techniques that will enable Ford to scale up its anticipated breakthrough designs.

Called Ford Ion Park, the 200,000-sq-ft (19,000-sq-m) facility will be home to 150 workers, who will explore new next-generation energy storage for the company's electric vehicles. That will include the development and manufacturing of lithium-ion and solid-state batteries, and look to optimize the entire supply chain, from the mining of materials to recycling the batteries at the end of their lives.

“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,” says Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's chief product platform and operations officer. “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.”

Ford has revealed plans for a $185-million research and development center, to explore technologies around next-generation batteries
Ford has revealed plans for a $185-million research and development center, to explore technologies around next-generation batteries

Ford Ion Park is being built in southeast Michigan where the company is based, and is where the team will investigate new battery electrode, cell and array designs. The company's nearby Battery Benchmarking and Test Laboratory will then be used to analyze and test batteries for use in Ford's electric vehicle lineup.

“While some automakers have placed their bets, we are going to use this lab with the help of partners and suppliers to fine-tune our batteries to our vehicles and customer needs – exploring next-generation lithium ion solutions, including solid-state batteries,” says Anand Sankaran, who will serve as the director of Ford Ion Park.

The US$185-million Ford Ion Park will open next year.

Source: Ford

6 comments
6 comments
Daishi
Picture this: You are an engineer or researcher gifted enough to help make Ford relevant in the EV space. You have a pile of job offers from tons of companies and you can live and work almost anywhere in the world. You choose...the Detroit metro? Hard pass
Knut
Picture this: You are a battery manufacturer or researcher gifted enough to help make a space in the EV space. You have a pile of offers from tons of companies and you can live and work almost anywhere in the world. You choose...a company in the USA with small sales in other countries? Hard pass
It is also technology: The USA has no research in quality production and little research in clean technologies like huge filtering of air to remove the dust - and select particles in the stream of pollution. Many countries in Africa are ahead of the USA. That the USA does nothing does not stop others from making research and obtain results. This is about being first, being "better". Not just talking loudest.
Seasherm
So Ford is considering maybe making their own batteries in the future after they have a planned technology breakthrough. Meanwhile, battery factories are being built all over the world by makers who understand that the future is electric. I think Ford is hoping that factories being built now will become outdated and legacy factories when new research comes in. Good luck with that. Sorry Ford (and Subaru their partner) you are very late to the party.
Catweazle
All very well, but the best result cannot possibly result in better than incremental improvements in efficiency.
Petrol or diesel energy density is around 50 times greater per kilogram than the best available battery technology, and you can double that if the tank is run from full to empty.
Apart from that, supplies of the highly specialised materials necessary for electrical propulsion are both much more scarce and much more expensive to extract than hydrocarbons.
Adrian Akau
Lithium is atomically lighter than Carbon but how to use it is the problem. If it could be run like a fuel and then reactivated later on, then it should have energy about equal to fossil fuel per weight. Presently, however, there is no type of motor that could run on liquid lithium but I think liquid lithium might be the answer.
Johannes
@Knut and Daishi By that logic, all the world's technology experts would be located in Monte Carlo.