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Britishvolt working with OEMs to develop new batteries

  • Market: Metals
  • 07/03/22

UK battery producer Britishvolt is in talks with around 20 major automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to develop new high-nickel and lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries serving the passenger and commercial vehicle markets, chief commercial officer Oliver Jones told Argus.

One of these partnerships was announced today, with the UK's Aston Martin. Britishvolt will work with the luxury car manufacturer to develop high-performance batteries, ahead of Aston Martin's first launch of a battery electric vehicle (EV) in 2025. A joint research and development team from Aston Martin and Britishvolt will design, develop and industrialise battery packs, including bespoke modules and a battery management system.

"One of our key strategies is to work hand in glove with auto manufacturers," Jones said today, "This will be something that is developed specifically for the high-performance market on a high-nickel based technology, in a form and format which allows a design which stops us needing a trade-off between energy and power."

Working with Aston Martin and others will assist Britishvolt in creating a battery management system that enables its batteries to maintain high power output whilst keeping range and cyclability, Jones said.

"This collaboration once again highlights the value of working hand in glove with customers to co-develop and manufacture tailored, sustainable, localised battery cells, allowing vehicle makers to deliver superior products. Technologies that reset the benchmarks," Britishvolt chief executive Orral Nadjari said.

Commercial vehicle segment a key market

Britishvolt regards the commercial vehicle segment as a "key market" and is developing advanced LFP batteries to meet its needs.

"It is a market that has tended to be underserved, using technology from outside of Europe. We see an opportunity to cater for a specific cell, lowering the cost of ownership," Jones said. "It should offer very high cyclability and durability and be available locally in Europe, which is important with the rules of origin legislation."

Commercial vehicles are in use a lot more throughout their lives than passenger vehicles, meaning extra value is placed on life cycle and durability, with the batteries being charged more often.

"In the medium term, the chemistry will be advanced LFP, with a smaller segment of the customer base looking at NMC," Jones added. "Our phased production plan gives us flexibility though. If solid-state technology becomes available by our final phase, we can incorporate it."

Work on Britishvolt's Blythe site in northeast England began in September 2021. It is expected to have an annual capacity of 38GWh by the end of this decade, after completing all four phases of development — enough batteries for 300,000 EV battery packs.


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