Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ford Follows GM, Tesla With New Car Battery Research

Ford's (F) investment in a new battery research lab follows Tesla's (TSLA) success with its electric car as well as GM's (GM) push to develop a rival electric vehicle with a lower price tag.
The new $8 million battery lab opened Monday at the University of Michigan, with $2.1 million from Ford and the rest from the university, U.S. Department of Energy, Michigan Economic Development Corp. and other investors.
Although Tesla has pushed battery technology by developing a new type of casing, the industry is looking for a lower-cost substitute.
The new lab will let Ford and university researchers collaborate with battery cell makers, suppliers and others in the manufacturing chain to develop smaller, lighter, longer-life batteries.
"This lab will give us a stepping-stone between the research lab and the production environment, and a chance to have input much earlier in the development process," said Ted Miller, head of battery research for Ford in a statement.
Ford shares were down 1% on the stock market today.
General Motors confirmed last month it's developing an electric car that can go 200 miles on a charge and will sell for around $30,000. Shares eased 1% Monday.
Tesla's Model S can go up to 265 miles on a single charge and starts at $62,000. Tesla, whose stock is on the IBD Leaderboard list of highly-ranked companies near a buy point, was also down about 1%.
Once viewed as a more of a novelty, electric cars are increasingly drawing interest from other auto giants.
Volkswagen (VLKAY) said in September it plans to sell an electric car in the U.S. by 2015. And Toyota (TM), which sells the short-distance FT-EV III now, is working on an electric sedan as well. Shares of Volkswagen rose fractionally. and Toyota's fell.