Ultra-Precise Battery Tester

Ford Motor Company
High-Precision Tester for Automotive and Stationary Batteries
Image of Ford's technology
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$3,128,000
Location: 
Dearborn, MI
Project Term: 
01/01/2013 to 12/31/2015
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Critical Need: 
Today's electric vehicle batteries are expensive and prone to unexpected failure. Batteries are complex systems, and developing techniques to cost-effectively monitor and manage important performance measures while predicting battery cell degradation and failure remains a key technological challenge. There is a critical need for breakthrough technologies that can be practically deployed for superior management of both electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy storage systems.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
Ford is developing a commercially viable battery tester with measurement precision that is significantly better than today's best battery testers. Improvements in the predictive ability of battery testers would enable significant reductions in the time and expense involved in electric vehicle technology validation. Unfortunately, the instrumental precision required to reliably predict performance of batteries after thousands of charge and discharge cycles does not exist in today's commercial systems. Ford's design would dramatically improve the precision of electric vehicle battery testing equipment, which would reduce the time and expense required in the research, development, and qualification testing of new automotive and stationary batteries.
Impact Summary: 
If successful, Ford's ultra-precise battery tester would improve upon the precision of today's best electric vehicle battery testers, allowing for better predictive capacity of the battery's life.
Security: 
Advances in energy storage management could reduce the cost and increase the adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage technologies, which in turn would reduce our nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy.
Environment: 
Improving the reliability and safety of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage facilities would enable more widespread use of these technologies, resulting in a substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Economy: 
Enabling alternatives to conventional sources of energy could insulate consumers, businesses, and utilities from unexpected price swings.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Ilan Gur
Project Contact: 
Dr. Alvaro Masias
Partners
Arbin Instruments
Sandia National Laboratory