Ford's Key Life Test bumps up lithium battery performance

Ford Stress Tests Its Batteries Reliably For Ten Years

After simulating 10 years worth of battery use, Ford proves its battery technology is up for the job. See what the company is doing to make Lithium Ion more reliable.
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Ford has embarked on another campaign to prove that its Lithium-Ion battery will keep on going strong ten years later. Its battery life validation protocol draws on two decades of electrified vehicle field experience to predict how its lithium-ion, Li-Ion batteries are likely to perform as far as 150,000 miles down the road. If you remember, back in 2008 I interviewed Ed Kjaer at the Southern California Edison Pomona center where they were testing the then Johnson-Saft li-ion batteries and found them to perform extremely well with over 200,000 without any noticeable degradation.

20+ Years of Hybrid Experience. Ford draws on the experience with its hybrid vehicles that date back to the late 1980s, which eventually gave birth to the limited Ranger EV series in 1998, the great city fuel friendly Escape Hybrid in 2004 and finally the award winning Fusion Hybrid in 2009. With 50 million battery cells produced since 2004, Ford is tapping into its hard earned experience to further advancements within its all-electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars.

The All Around Potential of Lithium Battery. Lithium battery reliability has been identified as one of the top considerations for potential customers buying an electric car, EV or a plug-in hybrid, PHEV. This tops other factors, such as fuel efficiency. Lithium battery tests have proven over and over again that they can not only last, but will not set on fire if properly managed and will go the distance. The trick is to now tell potential EV and PHEV buyers.

Ford has invested $135 million in the design, engineering and production of some of its key components, which includes doubling its battery testing capabilities. The carmaker already offers five electrified vehicles that will be available by the end of the year. Obviously, Ford is betting big on its battery technology and is using it for a key role in driving great fuel economy and range throughout its alternative energy lineup of cars. By putting the equivalent of 10 years and 150,000 miles of wear and tear on hybrid vehicle batteries in lab test, the test that took less than a year to complete have yielded great results.
 
Key Life Test. Ford developed what it calls its Key Life Test, which was specifically designed for its new li-ion batteries. This test draws on the company’s over 20 years of extensive data and experience. Specifically, the test allows engineers to simulate many factors, such as location of a battery within a vehicle, temperatures, as well as stop and go and frequency of charges. By testing the equivalent of 150,000 miles, about 10 years worth of average use on the batteries, the Key Life Test aims at delivering higher-quality and even more reliable batteries.
 
According to Kevin Layden, director of Ford Electrification Programs: “Recent studies show consumers are keeping their vehicles longer, and regulations in some regions now require batteries to carry warranties for greater distances. Fortunately, our tests take into account distances and conditions that go way beyond those normal requirements.”
 
With no less than five Li-Ion electrified vehicles by 2013, ford bumps up its previous nickel-metal-hydride, NiMH batteries performance by downsizing them about 25% to 30, while providing about three times the amount of power per cell, comparatively.
 
Go Further With Ford. Ford’s famous Go Further with Ford event is starting to deliver on an incredible bet the company took a few years ago and finds itself now well ahead of its local competition. With its Key Life Test enhancing better fuel economy across its lineup, Ford is offering more and more electric cars, EV, hybrids and plug-in hybrids, PHEV to meet the demands of fuel efficient conscious drivers.


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