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Faraday Battery Challenge chooses Williams-led consortium to grow UK vehicle battery leadership

12 Jun 2018

The UK Government’s Faraday Battery Challenge has chosen a consortium led by Williams Advanced Engineering to develop further innovative lithium ion battery systems for vehicles.  The consortium, with Imperial College London, Zap & Go, PowerOasis and Codeplay, seeks to research and deliver higher power, higher energy batteries using fewer cells that last longer and charge more quickly than today’s technology.

Such higher power, lighter, longer life batteries that charge more quickly would deliver greater range for electric vehicles, a key challenge for future sustainable mobility.

The project will deliver a hybrid battery system, setting global standards for the future of such products and seeking to extend the UK’s leadership in electric vehicles.  A study has already shown that hybrid batteries can deliver higher power and energy in a lighter product than lithium ion alone.

"The team at Williams Advanced Engineering and our consortium partners welcome the award from the Faraday Battery Challenge to enable our project that aims to help secure the UK’s position in the vanguard of the global electric vehicle revolution,” said Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering.  “The consortium’s goal is to deliver batteries using fewer cells while delivering more energy and power, plus faster charge times and greater life than is available from today’s competing technologies.”

Subject to final agreement the leading academic institution and four innovative technology companies will collaborate on the project, which aims to deliver:

• A revolutionary Battery Management System based on a completely new control method delivering better control and fidelity incorporating high-power processing capabilities.
• A hybrid battery module design, modelling and control technology.
• Unique carbon ion supercapacitor technology.
• New developments in cell modelling with the highest possible fidelity to real life situations.
• An accelerated and adaptive computing platform allowing more precise analysis and delivering greater performance in model adaptation, alongside the application of artificial intelligence within the battery.
• An end to end platform delivering whole life tracking of battery condition and status.

“Industry, government and academia working together will meet society’s demand for cleaner, longer-range, faster-charging electric vehicles through innovative research and development,” said Paul McNamara, Technical Director of Williams Advanced Engineering.  “This project represents those three sectors in alignment and will seek to make significant contributions to advancing those aims, with potential for major economic and environmental gains for the UK and the world.”

Pending final discussions by the consortium and sign-off of the project the constituent organisations will contribute their own areas of expertise to the project as follows:

• Williams Advanced Engineering will develop a new Battery Management System platform and integrate technologies and the project streams into the final hybrid battery product.
• The project will leverage the work being done by Imperial with the Faraday fast start programme in cell and battery modelling.
• Codeplay will provide Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology to allow greater performance in model adaptation by helping run multiple models in parallel.
• PowerOasis will deliver communications technology that will allow the tracking of fleets of batteries and increased second life value.
• Zap & Go will deliver a new type of supercapacitor delivering high energy and power levels with significantly longer life.

The Faraday Battery Challenge is a £246m commitment over the next four years from the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund on battery development for the automotive electrification market opportunity that is currently developing at a rapid pace worldwide.

Williams Advanced Engineering has powered the entire ABB FIA Formula E grid since its inception, currently in season four, and was also chosen this month by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) to be the sole battery supplier in the electrification of the FIA World Rallycross Championship from 2020.  The company was honoured with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation in April 2018 for its commercialisation of electrification know-how from its experience in Formula E.

The Foresight Williams Technology EIS Fund has also invested in Codeplay as part of the company’s move into the autonomous vehicles sector.  Codeplay will benefit not only from the investment management and growth experience of the Foresight Ventures investing team, but also from the engineering and technical knowledge and application of Williams Advanced Engineering.