Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn), the longest serving member in the House of Representatives, will speak Friday at the Lurie Engineering Center on North Campus about the Advanced Battery Coalition for Drivetrains, a research project launched by the University and struggling American automaker General Motors corp.

The $5 million partnership with GM, announced Jan. 12, focuses on accelerating research of car batteries training new automotive engineers in the hopes of creating more efficient, electric vehicles for the future.

Materials Science and Engineering Prof. Ann Marie Sastry, who is the University’s co-director of the battery partnership project, will also speak at the event.

Sastry said in an interview that the University-GM partnership will offer many opportunities for engineering students.

“With this partnership we’re aiming to regularize advanced simulations, modeling and control of battery systems for vehicles and expand our educational workforce training collaboration,” she said.

The main purpose for Dingell’s visit will be to congratulate the University on the innovative battery partnership with GM, Sastry said.

As part of the agreement, 50 GM engineers will take classes in the University Energy Systems Engineering master’s program, and University students will have opportunity to intern at GM.

“The project will allow us to train many, many more people to work on our engineering problem, which is electrification of vehicles and it will also enable us to expand our education offerings not only on campus but also within the automotive OEM (original equipment manufacturer),” Sastry said.

Bob Kruse, executive director global vehicle engineering hybrids, electric vehicles and batteries and GM’s co-director of the ABCD, wrote in a press release that advanced battery technology is the new competitive edge in the auto industry.

“GM’s relationship with (the University) gives us a tremendous opportunity to improve our understanding of advanced battery technologies,” Kruse wrote. “We aim to speed insertion of new technology, accelerate product design, and contribute to the cohort of automotive engineers and battery researchers who will shape our industry.”

ABCD will be headquartered at the University and will last for five years. Along with the announcement of the partnership, GM also announced in January that it will open a 31,000 square foot center for battery testing in Warren, Mich.

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