ford.automotiveITThe University of Michigan, working closely with Ford Motor, has opened a new 8 million dlr battery lab designed to help the US carmaker develop batteries that are smaller, lighter and less expensive. The cooperation is especially aimed at speeding up the development of electric vehicles.

Ford said in a press release that the lab is a battery manufacturing facility designed to support pilot projects. Ford and the university are also partnering with battery cell manufacturers and automotive suppliers in the project.

Battery technology is seen as crucial to the development of the EV market. Sales of EVs have been slow to take off, amid potential buyer concern over their relatively limited driving range and high price.

"This lab will give us a  stepping-stone between the research lab and the production environment," said Ted Miller, who is in charge of battery research at Ford.