Range anxiety? Put it out of your mind!

One of the big concerns raised by potential electric-vehicle owners face is what they call "range anxiety," the worry that they might run out of juice when they're away from their charging station.

But now GE, Ford and University of Michigan researchers are working on new sensor technologies that could help optimize battery management, giving drivers far more control over how far vehicles could be driven, according to a report on ZDNet.

The new technology would provide more information about temperature, voltage and currents, and help create data that can be used to predict future behavior.

"Ensuring a battery's health over many cycles requires taking frequent snapshots of its condition as it ages," U-M chemical engineering Prof. Charles Monroe said in the ZDNet story. "Control systems on cars have to be able to use this vast amount of data quickly and efficiently. Information provided by advanced sensors will allow us to create and verify finely resolved physical models to underpin battery management schemes."

And what does Ford get out of it? "Ultimately, through this collaboration, we anticipate being able to deliver more cost-effective and durable battery system solutions to our customers," said Tony Philips, Ford's senior technical leader of vehicle controls, research and engineering.