The future of daily urban commuting could be small, lightweight Electric L-category Vehicles (ELVs). A cost effective, energy efficient and comfortable alternative to traditional cars in cities, is at the heart of the €6.92m RESOLVE project, which included WMG at the University of Warwick.
The European project – named ‘Range of Electric Solutions for L-category Vehicles’ – designed and developed two stylish tilting four-wheeler prototype ELVs with leading European manufacturers Piaggio and KTM. These demonstrators were unveiled, and presented to representatives from the European Commission, at an event in Brussels in April 2018.
WMG was one of fourteen partners in the project, which included leading names from industry and research such as Piaggio, KTM, Bosch, Ricardo, the Austrian Institute of Technology, and the University of Florence.
Electric vehicle charging infrastructure on UK roads is to be advanced, thanks to a new £5.6 million project – funded by Innovate UK – to develop Vehicle-2-Grid (V2G) technologies, involving WMG at the University of Warwick.
For three years from April 2018, the EV-elocity consortium will conduct a project to demonstrate and develop V2G technology across a variety of UK locations, including airports and business parks – with the aim of proving its viability and worth to business and the wider public.
Researchers at WMG, led by vehicle electrification and energy storage expert Dr James Marco, will build a techno-economic model of how V2G will be viable within the UK. A key innovation will be the inclusion of new models of battery degradation within the analysis that will underpin new methods to optimise the vehicle’s battery system.
Dr Marco’s team will also analyse real-world usage data from a range of different electric fleet vehicles as they are used within a V2G context.
The project will break new ground in helping consumers, businesses and infrastructure providers to financially benefit from adapting their charging behaviour and vehicle use.
In doing so, the project will help to further accelerate and incentivise the transition from traditional fuel sources to electric vehicles.
Researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick have developed a new direct, precise test of Lithium-ion batteries’ internal temperatures and their electrodes potentials and found that the batteries can be safely charged up to five times faster than the current recommended charging limits. The new technology works in-situ during a battery’s normal operation without impeding its performance and it has been tested on standard commercially available batteries. Such new technology will enable advances in battery materials science, flexible battery charging rates, thermal and electrical engineering of new battery materials/technology and it has the potential to help the design of energy storage systems for high performance applications such as motor racing and grid balancing.
If a battery becomes over heated it risks severe damage particularly to its electrolyte and can even lead to dangerous situations where the electrolyte breaks down to form gases than are both flammable and cause significant pressure build up. Overcharging of the anode can lead to so much Lithium electroplating that it forms metallic dendrites and eventually pierce the separator causing an internal short circuit with the cathode and subsequent catastrophic failure.
Greg Clark announces £80 million funding for Coventry, Warwickshire and University of Warwick partnership to create new national battery facility
A partnership between WMG, at the University of Warwick, Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, and Coventry City Council has been awarded £80 million to establish a new National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility (NBMDF). The announcement was made by The Rt Hon Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, while attending an energy conference on the University of Warwick campus on Wednesday 29th November 2017.
The new national facility will be established in the Coventry and Warwickshire area by WMG, the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP and Coventry City Council and it will enable UK based companies and researchers to come together to build and maintain a world leading position in manufacturing technologies for batteries and their components in vehicles and transportation. It will provide a crucial new strategic link between the research, development and full-scale industrialisation for battery technologies across the UK.
It will enable effective partnerships between manufacturers, researchers, and economic development leaders, while remaining independent from commercial interests and it will be governed with transparency.
WMG, at the University of Warwick has joined a £1.3 million project with Connected Energy, Jaguar Land Rover and Videre Global to establish key components of a world leading second life battery value chain. The project is co-funded by an Innovate UK grant, awarded in October.
Connected Energy, a pioneer in site-integrated energy storage solutions, is based in Newcastle upon Tyne with a technical centre near Norwich. Its British designed E-STOR energy storage technology will be adapted to integrate recycled Jaguar Land Rover batteries, with other work to be undertaken by WMG on the use of varied second life battery modules. This innovative approach will further increase Connected Energy's knowledge base and performance of their E-STOR systems.
Reuse of electric vehicle batteries is compelling circular economy innovation. Second life enables greater exploitation of the carbon and energy embedded in the manufacturing of the batteries, adding to the sustainability credentials of electric vehicles as well as the electricity system. Using second life batteries also reduces system costs - making energy storage systems financially viable for a wider range of end users.
WMG at the University of Warwick is the academic research partner to the project. It is a department of the University of Warwick, and has a considerable reputation for energy storage research.
Intelligent construction machines which are more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly are set to enter the market, thanks to pioneering software developed by WMG, at the University of Warwick, and JCB.
The software was created as part of the Off-Highway Intelligent Power Management (OHIPM) project – a collaboration between JCB, WMG and Pektron, part-funded by Innovate UK - which sought to create the next generation of JCB vehicles.
Wanting to produce machines which emit fewer CO2 emissions, and to maintain their business performance in a changing market, JCB enlisted the world-class expertise of Dr James Marco from WMG’s energy team.
Dr Marco’s team analysed huge amounts of JCB data to establish which parts of the machine fleet could be most effectively optimised through intelligent power solutions, and how to benefit JCB’s diverse range of customers around the world.
The team at WMG then created the control software to operate intelligent engines with automotive powertrain technology, enabling them to sense when the machines are idle and make the decision to switch themselves off (or power down) when power is not required – leading to optimal energy efficiency and minimal pollution.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman, WMG, University of Warwick comments “I’m delighted to hear that the Government have announced plans to establish a centre for battery research in the UK. Not only will this support the Industrial Strategy, it will help change the perception of Britain from labs to manufacture.”
“Coventry and the sub region has a significant contribution to make in the delivery of the UK’s national industrial strategy, being in a strong position to lead the advancement of battery development, and vehicle electrification and autonomous vehicles. It will be at the heart of the drive to make the city a smart motor city.”
“Building on our automotive heritage, together with the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, we are keen to develop and expand battery R&D, which will see the creation of these skilled jobs which will also be a trigger for other development by the private sector.
“Having a 37 year track record of working jointly with industry to innovate, and as leaders, for 15 years, in battery development, WMG are poised to continue to drive forward battery innovation and help create growth and employment in the UK.
The full announcement from the Business Secretary Greg Clarke MP can be heard here.
Assistant Professor John Low has been awarded an EPSRC First Grant to develop a more modern approach to design and manufacture automotive energy storage, targeting Lithium-ion battery and supercapacitor devices.
The project will focus on ‘a designer approach to structuring electrodes’ for improved energy storage performance so that low-carbon plug-in and electric vehicles can travel a longer distance per charge. The new electrodes are expected to gain a significant improvement in the final ‘usable’ energy density (Wh/kg) and ‘usable’ capacity (Ah) at device cell level.
The new and improved energy storage devices will be designed, manufactured and tested at our state-of-the-art battery prototyping WMG Energy Innovation Centre at the University of Warwick.
WMG at the University of Warwick has been awarded £5.7 million by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to form a Prosperity Partnership with Jaguar Land Rover that could literally be described as ”electrifying”.
WMG’s Professor Barbara Shollock said:
“This Prosperity Partnership will tackle the emerging challenges for vehicle electrification through a unique collaboration to grow scientific understanding. This integrated approach brings the potential for the UK to lead, both industrially and scientifically, in an area of high growth and relevance in the UK's industrial strategy.”
“Our shared vision is to create new scientific insights to underpin the Automotive Council’s electrification agenda, from batteries and power electronics to electric motors and electric drive units.”
Electrification is a strategic target for the UK and a major element in the UK Industrial Strategy and an opportunity to grow a new globally-competitive industry. The UK strategy for ultra-low emission vehicles states the ‘vision is that by 2050 almost every car and van in the UK will be an ultra-low emission vehicle, with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture, making us one of the most attractive locations for ultra-low emission vehicle–related inward investment in the world’. To achieve this requires a step-change in knowledge, understanding and technology and Prosperity Partnership bringing together the WMG and Jaguar Land Rover will help achieve that.