Autovolt Magazine

UK’s Second Battery Build Facility Gets a Green Light

Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) has led a consortium of organisations, including Unipart Group, Coventry University, WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group), Productiv, MCT ReMan and The National Composites Centre, in a successful bid for an APC (Advanced Propulsion Centre) Competition to build a high performance, low volume, flexible battery manufacturing facility – the second such facility in the UK, after Nissan’s Sunderland plant.

Williams Advanced Engineering has a distinguished history with battery technology, having put together at a moment’s notice the current Formula E battery, helped Jaguar with their stunning C-X75 concept, Nissan with the chiselled Bladeglider concept and more recently offered their expertise to Vanda Electrics with the Dendrobium electric super car. The company has won awards for their efforts too, including The Royal Automobile Club’s prestigious Simms Medal in 2015.

This new battery facility project is aimed to help overcome existing industry supply chain gaps, as well as offer support to UK chemistry development and bridging the gap between low volume prototype build and electric vehicle production. Furthermore, the project will promote battery system development and create more commercial opportunities for this technology in the UK. Presently, UK companies wanting to use battery tech are forced to look abroad.

Aston Martin RapidE at Williams Advanced Engineering, Grove

The APC, which was created in a unique partnership between industry and government, provides funding to projects as part of its services to enable development of low carbon propulsion systems. Funding is allocated to projects based on the outcome of bi-annual competitions, which require applications from consortia with a clear demonstrable route to production including at least one SME, one supplier and a vehicle manufacturer.

British marque Aston Martin is also a part of the initiative having previously worked with Williams Advanced Engineering on a prototype battery for the Aston Martin RapidE, which will go into production and act as the ‘halo’ project for the new facility.

Jon Beasley, Director of Technology and Projects at APC added: “Williams Advanced Engineering Ltd and supporting partners have won an APC6 Competition to develop bespoke, high performance and cost-competitive batteries for low to medium volume applications. This project will focus on flexible manufacturing, design for manufacture, UK supply-chain development, recycling and reuse and save over one million tonnes of CO2.

Through a partnership of companies, the project will further develop and make available battery systems in order to overcome significant supply chain gaps in the UK and be able to offer support to UK companies researching and developing cell chemistry, and opportunity for acceleration to commercialisation.”

Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering, commented: “We’re delighted to have won the APC6 competition and associated funding along with our consortium partners whom we are looking forward to working with to deliver this exciting project. We truly believe we can make a difference to the UK’s manufacturing capabilities and offer a significant contribution to the future of the automotive industry and energy storage in general.

Source; Williams Advanced Engineering

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