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Britishvolt developing 4690 cell technology for high performance EVs

Britishvolt has outlined a development roadmap for larger format 4690 [46mm diameter x 90mm height] high-performance lithium-ion advanced cell technologies. The company is starting with digital-twin modeling before transferring the work to the recently acquired EAS facility in Germany, where the format will be developed and prototyped. The work will then be transferred to its Hams Hall scale-up facilities in the UK for prototype and production.

For comparison, Tesla’s next-generation tab-less cell is in a 4680 format. (Earlier post.)

Britishvolt understands the importance of larger format cells, which is why our recent acquisition of EAS, of which the importance needs to be fully grasped by the market, and our scale-up facility in the Midlands will help us deliver 4690 cells that our customers require. Critically, we will be able to build these game-changing cells in a truly sustainable, low carbon way.

We start with digital twin/simulation modeling, exactly the same way we did with our 21700 cell development, and then move on to physical prototyping. This improves efficiency, reduces waste, lowers costs and makes us leaner and more agile. We can also tailor the length of the cell to suit specific applications. This is a unique Britishvolt proposition that will also help anchor the UK as a global battery leader and home to leading battery innovation. We are helping reindustrialise the UK.

—Orral Nadjari, Founder/CEO, Britishvolt

The use of digital twins, via simulation and modeling capabilities, provides Britishvolt with analytical data and tools, coupled with manufacturing expertise, to tailor the 4690 cell. This customization can be in aspects including the variation of dimension, i.e. to shorten or increase the cell length against the 4690 format, in order to maximize performance and system integration.

The company has cell chemistry development and optimization pathways underway, coupled to cell mechanical design engineering, which builds upon the expertise in prototyping and cell design at EAS and is linked to development programs with Britishvolt’s cell manufacturing equipment suppliers.

Successful production of its first 21700 A-samples at the UK Battery Industrialization Center, following prototyping at WMG, University of Warwick, having tracked the same process from digital to physical, gives Britishvolt confidence that the data captured digitally will manifest as a market-leading new cell format, tailored to customer requirements. The first batch of 21700s will be in customer’s hands for testing later in 2022.

Further benefits will be obtained by working in close cooperation with customers to tailor the cells to their specific requirements. More customer announcements are scheduled in coming months.

Earlier this year, Britishvolt signed memorandums of understanding with both Lotus Cars and Aston Martin. The work with Lotus Cars will see Britishvolt and the Norfolk-based carmaker develop an electric sports car powered by Britishvolt cells and with advanced electric propulsion technologies developed by Lotus Cars.

Britishvolt’s collaboration with Aston Martin, the ultra-luxury carmaker, further supports its plans to launch its first battery-electric vehicle in 2025. Aston Martin is targeting new standards of repeatable on-track performance, charging time and range.

The Northumberland Gigaplant—Britishvolt’s first large, full-cycle Gigaplant in the UK—will have a total capacity of more than 38 Gigawatt Hours by the end of the decade and will produce enough cells far in excess of 300,000 electric vehicle battery packs per year, intended primarily for use in the automotive industry.

EAS. Britishvolt announced the acquisition of EAS from the Monbat Group for €36 million in May 2022. EAS has more than 25 years’ experience in developing and producing large format cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells from 7.5 Ah to 50 Ah.


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