Hyperbat battery for Aston Martin Rapide E

Britain backs better batteries for clean cars

Image credit: Hyperbat

UK businesses and research and technology organisations are being invited to bid for funding to support R&D projects that will improve the performance of batteries for electric vehicles and make them cheaper to manufacture.

The government sees large-scale battery production as a significant economic opportunity given that environmental policies are pushing the global automotive market towards electric vehicles.

Earlier this week, Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart Manufacturing Group, announced a joint venture to create the UK’s largest independent vehicle battery manufacturer, called Hyperbat, with a high-tech plant set to open in Coventry early in 2019. Aston Martin will be one of the first customers, for its limited-production Rapide E.

Up to £25m is on offer in the latest round of the Faraday battery challenge, of which £23m is allocated for industrial research and development and the remaining £2m for feasibility studies.

The money is directed at addressing a range of technical and commercial challenges facing present-day battery technology. These are listed as:

  • Reducing costs at the cell and pack level and minimising manufacturing costs.
  • Increasing the energy density per cell.
  • Increasing the power density per pack.
  • Eliminating thermal runaway risks to enhance safety.
  • Lengthening the cell and pack life in first-life applications.
  • Broadening the temperature ranges at which pack can efficiently operate.
  • Creating new models to predict range and battery health.
  • Improving recyclability, including design, reuse and recycling, towards 95 per cent pack recyclability.

The Faraday battery challenge has a strong commercial focus. Projects are expected to make it easier to scale up battery production and use and to build the UK supply chain, while there is particular encouragement for ideas that will bring new investment to the UK or “have the potential to increase productivity, competitiveness and growth”.

The money will be provided by UK Research and Innovation as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, and delivered by Innovate UK.

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