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Ford Sees Common Battery Design as Key to Future EV Success

By KBB.com Editors on August 17, 2009 3:04 PM
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Speaking at last-week's Plug-in 2009, Mike Tinskey, manager of Ford's sustainability activities focused on electric vehicles and infrastructure, indicated that one of the real keys to moving EVs into the consumer mainstream involves getting automakers to agree on a single -- or at least a massively simplified -- design for their battery packs. Beyond resolving a host of technology and servicing issues, Tinskey says that Ford sees the move to a universal design and its resulting economies of scale as the only way to bring the cost part of the equation into line with what the consumer would be willing to pay. As a primary "controllable success factor" in the overall "Electrification Enablers" equation, Tinskey noted that: "The biggest issue with batteries now is not necessarily the technology, it's the volume. If the battery manufacturers could get north of 100,000 packs, annually, prices come down drastically. One path forward is that we all collectively focus our initial volumes on common packs. That's easier said than done. I don't want to paint a picture that this is something we can get solved tomorrow. But we definitely have this in mind as a long-term goal. Right now we're just making sure we get the product right, it's a quality product, and it works. But if we could get movement to migrating to some commonality, overall that would be a huge win for the industry."

Beyond calling for a more universal approach to battery pack design, Tinskey also echoed the sentiments voiced by numerous other experts at Plug-in 2009, namely that to overcome the formidable challenges of making EVs a viable part of tomorrow's personal transportation scene, all parties involved on all levels must start working together using a focused approach that leads to that single end.

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