Battery development is charging ahead of the pack in the Ann Arbor region. A number of local companies, including the university, are developing new, improved, and innovated batteries, turning the area into a development hub.
The focus is mainly on car battery technologies to alleviate dependence on gasoline. These batteries, essentially, split the duty, allowing cars to go dozens of more miles before tapping into the gas tank.Excerpt:
Adding to the local battery technology boom is University of Michigan professor Ann Marie Sastry, whose startup company Sakti3 will "commercialize a manufacturing process in Ann Arbor for the development of high-power batteries that will withstand the rigors of automotive use, primarily in electric vehicles," according to a news release.
Sastry has been publicly quiet about the details concerning her company. But Ann Arbor SPARK CEO Michael Finney indicated that "she's got investors who are willing to help her grow her business." State tax credits were awarded based on projections that the company would eventually employ 112.
Meanwhile, the Ann Arbor division of A123Systems is helping GM develop the battery for the much-hyped plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, a vehicle that GM says will travel 40 miles on a single electrical charge.
A123Systems owns Ann Arbor-based T/J Technologies, which was co-founded by U-M professors Levi and Maria Thompson. Maria Thompson is now president of the Ann Arbor division of A123Systems.
Levi Thompson, director of U-M's hydrogen energy technology laboratory, said the university's intellectual property and innovative strength has driven the growth of local companies focusing on alternative energy and battery technology.
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