This week, Ricardo officially opened its new Battery Systems Development Center in Van Buren, MI. The battery lab is claimed to be the biggest of its kind and, as a consultant, Ricardo is opening the facility to anyone developing energy storage systems for hybrid and electric vehicles. Ricardo is touting its Virtual Vehicle Development Environment. This is a simulation environment that models the entire vehicle, allowing the battery to be integrated and tested under a wide range of conditions that might be experienced in the real world.
Ricardo has been actively working on alternative energy systems for a number of years in order to help both manufacturers and suppliers develop fuel-saving designs. This marks the second major announcement of a battery testing facility in southeast Michigin in recent weeks. GM's new battery lab at the Warren, MI tech center will also provide testing capability to battery makers. In GM's case it will share the testing data with the battery companies while building its own knowledge base on batteries. By offering testing services to other companies, Ricardo will be able to do the same.

[Source: Ricardo]

Ricardo launches industry's most comprehensive and integrated development facility for hybrid and electric vehicle battery syste

Release date: 27 January 2009

The new Battery Systems Development Center at the Ricardo Detroit Technology Campus provides complete vehicle systems integration for turnkey battery system development and application

The new facility provides the most comprehensive and integrated range of capabilities in the industry for turnkey development and application of complete high-voltage battery-pack systems for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. "As a leading supplier of advanced technologies and alternative energy solutions, Ricardo is at the forefront in developing renewable energy applications that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lead to energy independence," said Ricardo Inc President Dean Harlow. "While there has been a great deal of theoretical discussion and proposals on renewable energy, Ricardo is actually applying the technology by taking it off the whiteboard and into the real world. Last year we launched TVFE™ as a total vehicle fuel economy solution. Now we open the Battery Systems Development Center which will be among the industry's most complete battery development and system integration facilities, working with a wide range of customers from cell suppliers to the Tier 1s and OEMs on battery systems for hybrid and electric vehicles."

The Battery Systems Development Center is the focal point of Ricardo's design, analysis, simulation and integration of advanced high-power battery packs and their electronic management systems. Combined with the company's deep expertise in the development of electronic controls, hybrid transmissions and vehicle systems, it provides Ricardo with the capability of providing fully integrated, turnkey battery systems.

"Electrification of the vehicle is a critical element of automakers' strategies for achieving the 35-mile-per-gallon CAFE regulations," said Karina Morley, Ricardo's global vice president of Controls and Electronics. "The Battery Systems Development Center is a state-of-the-art, benchmark facility that enables Ricardo to evaluate and optimize batteries throughout the development cycle, from the early stages through battery pack production and integration into the vehicle."

Ricardo's Battery Systems Development Center is believed to be the only supplier facility with a Virtual Vehicle Development Environment, making it the industry's most comprehensive battery development and systems integration facility. This allows for fully simulated vehicle integration to be conducted in a safe, controlled and repeatable environment, positioning Ricardo as one of the only suppliers equipped to deliver increased efficiencies by fully optimizing a battery pack and control system.

"We're very proud of the fact that Ricardo is playing a role in positioning Michigan as the leader in electric vehicle technology development," Harlow added. "We commend Governor Granholm, the Michigan Legislature and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for creating incentives that make it possible for companies like Ricardo to invest in Michigan's high-tech future. It's an investment that will fuel jobs and economic development for years to come."

Ricardo's extensive expertise in battery development can be applied to non-automotive industries that can benefit from advanced battery pack development. Applications could include agricultural equipment, defence vehicles and medium- and heavy-duty on- and off-road vehicles. This includes any type of energy storage, such as ultra capacitors or batteries for stationary or other applications.

In the Battery Systems Development Center, prototype battery pack systems undergo exhaustive development in specially built development chambers equipped with robust safety and filtration systems. Each will feature high-capacity battery cyclers, high-voltage instrumentation, hardware-in-the-loop systems and other equipment to enable the development of battery systems in simulated vehicle environments. Once a battery pack design is verified in a safe, simulated environment, the battery system can be integrated into and further developed on a vehicle in Ricardo's adjoining garage facility.

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