Plan to break electric car barriers

A pioneering project at the £40 million West Midlands-based Manufacturing Technology Centre aims to break down the major barriers to electric car ownership.

The leading-edge project – christened EV-Lite – plans to create a high volume manufacturing facility which can produce electric vehicle battery packs for half the current cost. The high cost of these packs is thought to be putting a brake on electric vehicle sales in the UK and worldwide.

The two-year project is also tackling the problem of battery weight, aiming to reduce this by up to a third.

Technology director at the MTC Ken Young said the team’s goal wants to bring electric vehicles to the masses by tackling the key issues of cost, weight and sustainability.

He said: “The high cost of battery packs is preventing the increased uptake of electric vehicles. A battery pack can cost anything up to £16,000 making electric vehicles significantly more expensive than their internal combustion engine counterparts.”

He added: “Innovative design and manufacting ideas which we are working on will help achieve a cost reduction of around 50 per cent and a weight reduction of 30 per cent. The re-designed battery pack will use a whole-life planning approach to allow for re-use and recycling.”

The Manufacturing Technology Centre represents one of the largest public sector investments in manufacturing for many years and is housed in a 12,000 sq metre purpose built facility in Coventry. It is a partnership between some of the UK’s major global manufacturers and universities, including Birmingham.

Dr Simon Slater, Chief Executive of Sustainability West Midlands commented:  “This is great news for the West Midlands and building on one of our key low carbon economic strengths. The race is now on to capture the site for the recently Government proposal of an Advanced Propulsion Centre and an associated £1 billion programme of research and investment”.

Source: Birmingham Post