You are here

$3 Million Grant Charges Electrical Vehicle Research

circuit board milling machineThis circuit board milling machine engraves copper-clad substrate material to produce prototype circuit boards such as the signal conditioning board used in the newly re-designed battery testing system to support CAR Technologies.

A $3 million Ohio Third Frontier grant awarded to Ohio State for advanced battery testing highlights the university’s strengths in research for the electrical vehicle industry.

The university’s Center of Excellence for Energy Storage Technology will use the funding to purchase, install and operate equipment for battery testing and characterization at a facility in the Science and Technology Campus Corp. (SciTech), a research park at Ohio State.

The facility, expected to open in November, will be managed by CAR Technologies, a limited liability company created by seasoned entrepreneurs and former auto industry executives in partnership with Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research to commercialize intellectual property and technologies developed by CAR. Work conducted under the Third Frontier grant will be in collaboration with Vanner, of Hilliard, Ohio; STMicroelectronics, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland; and AeroVironment, based in Monrovia, Calif.

Energy storage continues to be the most significant limitation to the transition to electricity as a transportation fuel, says Giorgio Rizzoni, director of CAR and a mechanical engineering professor.

“Vehicle start-ups, commercial vehicle OEMs, and suppliers need a credible, cost-effective advanced battery and hybrid power train engineering and testing partner to commercialize vehicle electrification products,” Rizzoni says.

Battery testing, validation and characterization are key steps in the development of new electric and plug-in hybrid passenger and commercial vehicles, which require large, expensive batteries developed through extensive testing to ensure they can last 10 years or 150,000 miles under harsh electrical, thermal and mechanical vibration conditions. However, there are not enough third-party advanced battery testing facilities to meet current industry demand, says Kenneth Dudek, CEO of CAR Technologies LLC.

“Only the largest passenger car manufacturers have the scale to either deploy their own energy storage testing laboratories or forge strategic partnerships with battery manufacturers to obtain the required testing,” Dudek says. “Smaller passenger car and commercial vehicle OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) do not have sufficient size or market scale to tackle these problems the same way.”

The work performed under the Third Frontier grant will couple extensive testing and characterization facilities with the deep knowledge base available at Ohio State, particularly through CAR, thereby providing a broad range of services to the automotive industry — from testing to fundamental research.

“In a short time, the West Campus of Ohio State could be host to the largest battery testing and characterization facility in the country,” Dudek says.

Launched in 2002, the Ohio Third Frontier program provides funding to expand Ohio’s technological strengths and stimulate economic growth.

Giorgio Rizzoni, (614) 688-3856,

On the Web: Center for Automotive Research

Tags: Research