This year, Ford has kicked off the expansion of its electrified vehicles research and development program in Asia and Europe, creating a “hub and spoke” system that enables the global team to further speed up battery technology and take advantage of market-specific opportunities.
With the expansion, Ford’s Electrified Powertrain Engineering teams are also enabled to share common technologies and test batteries virtually, in real time, to develop new technology faster while eliminating the need for expensive prototypes.
Ford—the leading seller of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHV) and the second grandest electrified vehicle seller in the USA—continues its investment in electrified vehicle technology, research and development teams.
For instance, this year, the American automaker expanded its Electrified Powertrain Engineering (EPE) program in Dearborn to focus on the development of new and advanced technologies for electrified vehicles by hiring over 120 additional electrified vehicle engineers and moving the EPE team into its own dedicated facility, Ford Engineering Laboratory.
The extended engineering capabilities enabled by the Ford Engineering Laboratory help the team control a network of world-class facilities in Germany, England, China and the USA. This network enables the EPE team to take advantage of globally connected technologies to develop lighter and more durable EV batteries.
Ford is also expanding in China and Europe to speed up battery technology R&D for new markets. Thanks to an advanced hardware and software system known as Hardware-in-the-Loop (HIL), the global team can test battery technology and control system hardware in a virtual environment to simulate how batteries and control modules would behave in various environments in any part of the globe.
Battery testing across a variety of temperatures and charge/discharge cycling conditions is critical to determine the length of time a battery could degrade in various parts of the globe.
The global Ford team has extensively utilized temperature testing for over ten years as part of its production battery design and validation process. Through testing, the automaker has successfully developed more durable batteries that can survive extreme cold and hot temperatures.
In a statement, Kevin Layden, director, Ford Electrification Programs, said that batteries are the life force of any EV, and they have been committed to growing their leadership in battery R&D for over 15 years. He added that battery technology has evolved quickly since they rolled out their first volume electrified product, the Ford escape Hybrid, last year, and they look forward to the development of better vehicle battery technology for their customers.
Just recently, Ford expanded its offerings in burgeoning markets, including Korea and Taiwan, where the automaker offers the Mondeo Hybrid. It also announced bringing the Mondeo Hybrid and C-MAX Energi Plug-In Hybrid to China.
In October, Ford, together with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the University of Michigan, announced a new $9 million battery laboratory at the university that is helping the automaker develop smaller, lighter and less expensive to produce batteries.
The advanced, small-scale production facility utilizes the latest battery development and research technologies to simulate the performance of full-scale production batteries, enabling for faster implementation in upcoming production vehicles.
Ted Miller, senior manager of energy storage strategy and Research, said in a statement that the Battery Lab offers them an opportunity to test hundreds of chemistries and cell designs that can be translated into the production line. “This is truly a world-class environment for Ford to develop and test industry-leading battery technology.”
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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