Arguably a significant reason for the still-rather-high costs involved in buying and running hybrid and electric vehicles is the question of battery health and lifespan. This isn’t only about knowing how much juice is left in your Prius’ battery. How long does the battery have left to live before it has to be (very dearly) replaced, and how efficiently or effectively is it being used?

Ford, General Electric and the University of Michigan are working together on a sensor that they say can measure more parameters of a battery than existing technology can, due to its miniscule size that allows it to be located in less accessible areas of the battery. As such, the trio proclaim to bring out a more advanced battery management system that can predict battery behaviour more accurately and optimise usage for a longer lifespan. Something like your laptop’s power management.

The workflow is as follows: GE is to develop the sensor, UMich will validate and verify their data and Ford will fit the sensor to one of their cars and conduct real-world testing.

The project, called ARPA-E, is a three-year, $3.1 million affair that aims to ultimately bring hybrid and electric vehicles closer to commercial viability.