U of Michigan Programs Preps Students to Design Tomorrow's Vehicles

Universities across the country are adding classes and programs to teach engineering students about advanced battery technology.

Published: 05-Feb-2008

Sarah Herman is learning to become a mechanical engineer, following in the footsteps of her dad, who works for General Motors Corp.

But instead of focusing on the engines of today, the 22-year-old senior at the University of Michigan is trying to figure out how to help people adopt more Earth-friendly sources of power.

She is one of a few students selected to be part of a new graduate program at U-M aimed at teaching engineers to be fluent in the fast-changing technology that drives lithium-ion batteries.


Powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries and two 67bhp (50kW) electric motors to drive the front and rear axles, the Mixim is a four-wheel-drive car with a theoretical top speed of 112mph and a potential maximum range of 156 miles.

Dodge ZEO is 2+2 electric muscle car for the 21st century powered by 200kW electric drive with 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds and range of 250 miles.

The Air Car may do better than fuel-cell cars, but experts say that using grid power to charge a battery-powered electric vehicle is much more efficient than using electricity to compress and store the same amount of energy in a tank.


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