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Cenex, the UK-based not-for-profit consultancy focused on low carbon vehicles and associated energy infrastructure, announced the successful completion of the two-year project Sustainable Lightweight Low Cost Battery Systems for Extended Life Cycles (EV-Lite). (Earlier post.) The project was co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board. The project consortium comprises the Manufacturing Technology Centre; Unipart Manufacturing; Electrovaya; RDVS; CRR; Bluebird Innovation Group; Loughborough University; and Cenex.
The project realized a 41% reduction in weight and a 63% reduction in cost of the non-cell components. This translates to a saving of 45 kg (99 lbs) at the battery pack level. The ultimate aim of the project is to enable volume manufacturing for electric vehicle battery packs in the UK through innovative design and, in doing so, help bring electrical vehicles to the mass market.
Innovative design and manufacturing ideas helped the consortium to achieve significant cost reductions and weight savings without sacrificing functionality.
The new battery design has no wire or screws; this step change in design has translated into significant improvements in battery pack assembly. When compared to a benchmarked battery the EV-Lite design has a parts count of 196 vs 807 for a 4 kWh-sized module. The project also devised a novel safety feature to isolate cells in an accident and a novel battery interface system. Five patent applications have resulted.
In the EV-Lite project, the main role of Cenex is managing the battery test and validation work package. The lead partner, the Manufacturing Technology Centre, has manufactured two prototype battery packs, utilizing a new Battery Management System designed by RDVS.
One of the battery packs has been tested by Loughborough University using real life test cycles developed by Cenex to ensure the new project battery design is tested within a performance envelope representative of conditions during in-service operation.
The prototype battery pack and the mobile robotic assembly cell used for automated assembly will be presented to the public at Cenex-LCV 2014 at Millbrook Proving Ground in September.