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We know that General Motors has the largest battery lab in the world, one that's capable of carrying out all kinds of scientific tests, but that's a little boring, if you ask us. If you want to test a battery's durability, do you really need fancy lab equipment and sophisticated computers? Or can you just use a few household items, a swimming pool, bullets and a lot of time? Maybe it's time to ditch the lab coats, fire up the oven and learn how battery testing is really done.

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In January, Johnson Controls Inc (JCI) and Saft Advanced Power Solutions, a Paris-based battery company, combined efforts in a joint venture (JCS) to further the development of lithium-ion batteries for vehicle applications. Last month, the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium, an umbrella organization involving collaborative research between DaimlerChrysler, Ford and GM, along with the U.S. Department of Energy awarded the joint venture a 2-year contract to continue its research and development.

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