Posted March 4th, 2022 in Automotive

By Fergal Harrington-Beatty, Head of Electric Vehicles, AMTE Power.

Sales of battery electric vehicles grew an impressive 76.3% from 2020 to 2021, more than any other category, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). With Government’s 2030 deadline to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars fast approaching, the demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is only set to grow. To meet this demand, the industry will need a secure and reliable supply of lithium-ion battery cells.

At AMTE Power, we’ve identified two especially underserved sectors in the market with a particular set of challenges – high-performance and heavy-duty electric vehicles. We have the solution to their needs and the technology to deliver the next generation of EV battery cells.

Unique requirements

High-performance and heavy-duty electric vehicles have different battery requirements to economy cars. It’s all down to their respective charging, discharging and safety needs.
High-performance vehicles, such as luxury sports cars, have to achieve faster acceleration and higher top speeds. That calls for a cell which has a good power to weight ratio while also keeping temperatures as low as possible so that the batteries remain safe and perform well. Customers for these vehicles want quick recharging times too.

Meanwhile, heavy-duty vehicles, like HGVs and buses, need batteries that can keep up with their internal combustion engine counterparts in order to meet the needs of the commercial market. With HGVs currently contributing 18% of road transport greenhouse gas emissions, heavy-duty vehicles and their range and torque requirements must not be forgotten in the shift to electric.

It’s maintaining this balance of power, weight and safety which makes engineering high-power and high energy lithium-ion cells so complex. If one of these three requirements isn’t met, this could mean a poor performing vehicle at best or a major safety issue at worst.

Optimised technologies

AMTE Power’s long experience and our team’s expertise mean that we have been able to engineer the technologies to match these challenges. In high-performance cars, it all comes down to the work we have done to enhance the C-rate and reduce the resistance of our lithium-ion Ultra High-Power (UHP) cell.

A battery’s C-rate is the rate at which a battery can charge and discharge. Our specially designed UHP cell can perform up to 25 C continuous discharge. To put this into context, cells for most high-performance EVs currently on the market operate at 10 C. It’s because our cells have low internal resistance that we can achieve faster charge and discharge rates without overheating.

Our Ultra Energy 2170 cells work well in both high-performance and heavy-duty EV applications. Our Gen 1 cell is competitive with what’s on the market today, with a Gen 2 cell in the works that could increase the range capability of the cell by more than 15%, something which is critical for commercial vehicles.

British-made benefits

The other important thing to note is that AMTE Power’s batteries are British-made. This of course means great things for the UK economy and jobs, but the benefits of batteries made in the UK don’t stop there. From 2024, new rules of origin will stipulate that batteries that don’t contain at least 50% UK or EU sourced materials, will face tariffs of 10%. Locally sourced batteries will soon become an essential component for the rapidly evolving car industry.

Thanks to our existing manufacturing facility in Thurso and the work we’ve been doing at the UKBIC in Coventry, we’re well positioned for scaling up and delivering our cell production within the UK market.

A new era for EV cells

As we move into the next generation of EV cells, what will really matter to automotive manufacturers is security of supply and UK manufacture. We’re already far along that journey and have been doing great work with the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) on two separate projects to optimise the use of our Ultra High-Power and Ultra Energy cells. We’ve been partnering with BMW and Sprint Power to develop these for high-performance cars and with Magtec specially for use in heavy-duty vehicles.

The EV market is set for major growth as we transition to a net-zero society. With our Ultra High Power and Ultra Energy technologies, we’re ready to supply high-performance cells – reliably, safely and at scale.