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Ford's Accelerated Battery Research Drives Development of Vehicle Electrification Plans

  --  Ford is working with battery suppliers and university researchers to
      develop lithium-ion battery systems that are more efficient than the
      nickel-based batteries used in current hybrids
  --  Ford will use Li-ion battery systems to power its future battery
      electric, hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to be introduced
      in the 2010-2012 time period
  --  Ford is working with utility companies nationwide to road-test its
      Li-ion-powered Escape Plug-in Electric Hybrid Electric (PHEV) research


One of the hurdles in the race to develop automotive Li-ion battery systems for high volume hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle programs is improving the technology's durability. Ford's advanced battery researchers are working with battery suppliers, utility companies and top-tier academic researchers to develop, test and validate high-powered battery systems that are durable enough to last the lifetime of a vehicle.


"Ford is strongly positioned to accelerate its electric vehicle strategy this year thanks to the significant research we've already completed. Our collaborative work with suppliers and partners will help us be one of the first automakers to bring the next generation of personal transportation to market."

- Susan Cischke,

Group Vice President, Ford Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering

"Our PHEV fleet is a direct result of our Li-ion research, and the data mined from these field tests will provide crucial information as we make advances in battery technology."

- Ted Miller, Manager, Ford Energy Storage Strategy and Research

"The efforts of the [Ford] team to reduce the cost and mass of Li-ion systems have been important to the research community at large. Their efforts are yielding improved Li-ion systems, and more knowledgeable workers."

  -Ann Marie Sastry,
  Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of
  Michigan's Energy Systems Engineering Program


Ford's advanced battery researchers will present recent findings at SAE International's 2009 World Congress April 20-23. Researchers say:

  --  Li-ion battery systems will be 5 percent more energy efficient than
      the nickel-metal hydride batteries used in today's hybrid electric
  --  Li-ion would be less costly than NiMH in large volumes - approximately
      30 percent less expensive at an annual volume of 3 million hybrids.

  The Battery

The Li-ion battery packs that Ford will use in its hybrids and electric vehicles, are 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter than NiMH batteries. That makes them easier to package in a vehicle. Unlike NiMH batteries, Li-ion can be tuned to increase power to boost acceleration, or to increase energy to extend driving distance.

  Ford will use Li-ion battery systems to power:
  --  a pure battery electric (BEV) Transit Connect commercial van in 2010
  --  a BEV passenger car developed jointly with Magna International by 2011
  --  a Plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) and next-generation hybrid electric
      vehicle (HEV) by 2012

Unique Li-ion systems are in development for each type of vehicle, because the drive cycles of BEVs, HEVs and PHEVs have different types of battery storage and usage requirements.

The Challenge

The Li-ion battery needed for automotive use is expected to handle a multitude of vehicle operations under extremely hot and cold conditions, making thermal and safety management much more complex than that needed for batteries in consumer electronics, such as laptops.


Ford is accelerating its research, development and testing of advanced Li-ion battery technology, thanks, in part, to a $55 million tax credit incentive from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Ford has engaged researchers at the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to conduct digital simulation tests, collecting degradation data that Ford and its battery suppliers have used to improve Li-ion performance. In addition, Ford has entered into research partnerships with eight regional electrical utility companies to conduct real-world tests on Li-ion-powered Ford Escape PHEVs.

  These vehicles:
  --  Use a common household current (120 volts) for charging, with a full
      charge of the battery completed within six to eight hours
  --  Can achieve up to 120 mpg when driven on surface streets for the first
      30 miles following a full charge
  --  Operate in two modes, electric drive and blended electric-engine drive
  --  Run as a fuel-efficient standard Ford Escape Hybrid one the charge in
      the battery as been depleted

  IMAGES:  Available at

  About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company , a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 213,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's wholly owned brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit

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