IONETIC, a UK start-up specializing in electric vehicle (EV) battery pack technology, launched its EV battery pack design platform, which the company says can cut the development cost and time for automotive manufacturers bringing a new electric vehicle to market.
Producing a high-performance and safe battery pack solution has been expensive and time-consuming for many automotive companies. Fully customized designs can be unaffordable, while existing off-the-shelf battery pack solutions suffer from low energy density and poor optimization. This is particularly true for lower volume niche automotive manufacturers with unique requirements, IONETIC said.
IONETIC overcomes these problems by offering an efficient blend of cost and customization to help accelerate battery pack development. IONETIC says its software-based platform can boost energy density by 30% and increase utilization of pack volume by up to 120%, compared to existing off-the-shelf solutions.
For example, many existing commercially available battery packs have energy densities of 130-160Wh/kg. The Tesla Model 3 has a module energy density of 197Wh/kg and a pack energy density of 156Wh/kg. A Nissan Leaf module (which many niche vehicle companies use) has an energy density of 191Wh/kg and a pack energy density of 132Wh/kg. IONETIC’s battery modules have an energy density of 226Wh/kg. IONETIC’s pack architecture is most similar to Tesla, so a pack energy density of at least 180Wh/kg is targeted. This is a 36% improvement over the Nissan Leaf.
It can also produce a battery pack design in days and reduce the costs of getting from requirements to mass manufacture by more than 90% for automotive OEMs. This is due to the platform’s ability to generate designs automatically according to a series of fully adjustable parameters, while offering a vertically integrated solution to battery pack production, which includes homologation and mass manufacture.
IONETIC is planning to open its first UK-based battery manufacturing facility next year, which will enable it to begin pilot production of its own battery pack designs. This will make IONETIC the only UK-based battery pack developer to offer an end-to-end, in-house battery solution, from conceptualization and prototyping through to homologation and production.
There are many stages needed to get a battery pack into production. Automotive companies need to consider requirements, system design, homologation, embedded control, manufacturing options, and vehicle integration, to name a few. These stages are often done by different companies, which can lead to a costly, fragmented process. At IONETIC we facilitate all these stages, simplifying the process and reducing the cost for EV OEMs.
We’re currently focusing on niche automotive companies in the UK and Europe. They typically make less than 10,000 vehicles per year, so probably don’t meet the minimum order quantities of large global battery pack suppliers, or can’t meet their high design fees. These niche vehicle-makers are the unsung heroes that keep society functioning. Trucks, buses, construction vehicles, service vehicles and emergency vehicles all need to electrify in the next decade. We’re also in talks with iconic car brands and sports car manufacturers. Gigafactories are mainly catering for mass-produced, cars. There’s a risk that some of these niche, historic car brands might not survive electrification unless companies such as IONETIC address their specific needs.—James Eaton, CEO and Co-Founder of IONETIC