July 2017

As a University of Michigan graduate, I enjoy the opportunity to be back in Ann Arbor as much as possible. In July, I had the opportunity to attend PlugVolt 2017 Conference on July 19.  There were around 100 attendees, including battery manufacturers, university faculty and students, and vehicle upfitters.

There were several University of Michigan research projects presented on the fundamentals of electro-chemistry – thermodynamics, electro kinetics, types of reactions, cell design principles, and much more. In addition, there was a lively discussion on recycling and re-use, or second life, of electric vehicle batteries. There are many challenges with second life batteries that relate to the battery state of charge, cell life, differences in battery management systems, and the costs of newer battery technology.

There were also many experts from automakers, Tier 1 system suppliers, and utility companies that discussed different electric vehicle architectures and applications of grid and utility storage applications.

After the show, we had the opportunity to tour AVL’s New Energy Lab in the Ann Arbor Tech Center. The staff of AVL gave us a glimpse into their capabilities in battery and eMotor testing. As a former test engineer, it was nice to go back inside a dynamometer cell.