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UK to fund first automotive battery manufacturing development centre

APC launches competition in a step towards ensuring the UK becomes a global leader in the development and production of EVs

The UK’s intends to establish its first automotive battery manufacturing development centre via a competition, as part of the £246 million “Faraday Challenge.” Overseen by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the initiative is aimed at ensuring the UK has capability to become a global leader in the development and production of electric vehicles.

The automotive battery manufacturing centre will be the first of its kind in the UK and will allow new and pioneering battery technology to be scaled up to be suitable for high-volume production (classed as around 1 GWh of output per year). This will enable the British EV battery supply chain to increase its capabilities, and attract global OEMs and suppliers to develop new technology in the UK. The project is also expected to create a number of new employment opportunities.

The Faraday Challenge is a government-funded initiative to develop a number of capabilities in the UK EV battery supply chain. The Automotive Council has set several targets for the Faraday Challenge to meet by 2035, including: the reduction of a battery cell cost from £100/kWh to £38/kWh, and to increase cell energy density from 250Wh/kg to 500Wh/kg.

There is also a target to increase a battery cell’s coldest operating temperature from -20°C to -40°C, and hottest operating temperature from 60°C to 80°C and improve a battery pack’s recyclability from 10-50% to 95%.

The new facility will allow organisations to research and experiment with batteries, hopefully allowing some of them to reach some of the targets set by the automotive council. APC business development director Garry Wilson commented: “The new National Battery Manufacturing Development facility will be a national asset and the first of its kind being open to all UK located organisations to develop manufacturing processes for their concept ready battery technologies at production rates appropriate to ‘giga’ factories. The objective is that these processes can transfer to UK high volume battery manufacturing facilities helping to establish the UK as a centre for Battery research, development and manufacture.”

The competition ends on the 6th September 2017, and according to the APC’s terms, the site would be built within 24-30 months, commencing by the end of 2017 and opening by late 2019 or early 2020. In less than two years then, the UK should see a new facility up and running.

More details are available from the APC, and interested companies and consortia can apply here.


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