GE researchers in partnership with the Ford Motor Company and the University of Michigan will partner to develop a miniaturized sensing system that improves the range, cost and life of battery systems in electric vehicles.

The project is part of the Department of Energy’s Advance Research Projects Agency for Energy (APRA-E) three year, $3.1m initiative to make EVs more commercially viable.

GE Global Research principal investigator and mechanical engineer Aaron Knobloch said that the battery systems in a car was the greatest barrier as well as the best opportunity to make EVs more viable and easy to adapt in mainstream private transport.

"Improvements in the range, cost and life of the battery will all be needed for EVs to be competitive," added Knobloch.

"With better sensors and new battery analytics, we think we can make substantial progress at increasing battery life."

An ultrathin battery sensor system will be combined with a sophisticated modeling of cell behavior to control and optimize battery management systems.

Ford Motor Company senior technical leader for vehicle Controls, research and engineering Tony Philips said, "This collaboration brings together a diverse set of experts on sensor technology, controls and modeling, and automotive engineering to innovate on some of the most critical elements of battery technology.