WMG to support £20m development of next-generation electric vehicle batteries

Posted on 21 Jan 2016 by Jonny Williamson

WMG at the University of Warwick has announced its involvement in a £19.4m project to support the development of next-generation electric vehicle batteries in the UK, funded through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC UK Ltd).

The funding will support leading edge manufacturing research focussed around Nissan’s Sunderland battery manufacturing plant – the largest full scale automotive Li-ion battery manufacturing facility in Europe.

The Nissan LEAF has helped transform the performance and perception of EVs.

Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) researchers will play a key role in helping Nissan take forward this opportunity and will receive £1m for the research.

The consortium led by Nissan with WMG at the University of Warwick, Hyperdrive, Newcastle University, and Zero Carbon Futures (ZCF), will bring together engineers, researchers, new technology and existing facilities, assets and knowledge to create and prove new and improved manufacturing processes for the next generation of automotive batteries.

WMG has particular skills around battery chemistry and the manufacturing processes used to scale this up to high volume production.

Its role in the project will be to investigate potential improvements to battery chemistry and increasing manufacturing yield, and to optimise automated manufacturing processes to enable Nissan to remain at the forefront of electric vehicle technology.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya WEB
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, WMG.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya commented: “We are delighted to be part of this project which clearly shows the UK as the go-to location for European battery manufacture and research. This is the ideal partnership to reinforce that position.

“WMG is recognised as the UK centre for automotive battery development as demonstrated by our status as APC spoke for Electrical Energy storage, and by several recent project awards to WMG in this area including ELEVATE AND AMPLIFII.”

Chairman of Nissan Europe, Paul Willcox said: “With 200,000 customers around the world already, the Nissan LEAF has transformed the performance and perception of EVs and made Nissan the undisputed leader in EV technology.

“Today’s announcement reflects Nissan’s intention to remain EV leaders for many years to come, with our UK operations at the heart of our future innovations.”

Nissan has said that this announcement will safegaurd 300 highly-skilled jobs across manufacturing, maintenance and engineering at its Sunderland battery manufacturing plant.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the plant – now the largest in the history of the UK automotive industry.