Lithium-ion technology developer, Hyperdrive Innovation has secured a cash injection of GBP3.2m (US$4.7m) from venture capital firms Hamilton Capital Partners and Rivers Capital, alongside R&D grant funding from Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

Sunderland, UK-based Hyperdrive, designs and manufactures on a single site and supports developers of electric vehicles and stationary energy storage to bring new products to market.

Hyperdrive’s batteries incorporate patented battery management technology, which can be adapted for use with different cell chemistries to provide electric power.

The company will use the funding to further develop its product range and make productivity improvements in battery pack manufacture.

“The diverse nature of projects we are involved in demonstrates we are able to act as a partner for any OEM that needs to introduce cutting-edge battery technology and management systems to electrify its products,” said managing director and co-founder, Stephen Irish.

“The future of low carbon transportation globally depends on companies such as ours working with vehicle manufacturers on innovative low carbon powertrains.

“We expect this year to bring a further step change as Hyperdrive Innovation continues to accelerate electrification in the low-carbon vehicle sector and the continued development of more sophisticated energy storage systems.”

Formed in 2012, Sunderland-based Hyperdrive Innovation recently secured a substantial Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) grant in collaboration with Nissan, Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick, Newcastle University and Zero Carbon Futures.

The consortium is working together on key areas of battery development covering pilot projects, product diversification and process improvement.

The private investment in the company was secured via the North East Angel Fund, managed by Rivers Capital Partners and a syndicate of private investors.

Fund Manager for the Angel Fund, Michael Dickins, led the investment. “We have supported Hyperdrive from the very start,” he said.

“Seeing its potential at a very early stage, the Fund provided initial seed capital in 2012. Stephen and his team are dedicated and focused, which is what really attracted us to working with them. It is a pleasure to be able to commit further funds to the project as the business continues to go from strength to strength.”

For his part, Hamilton Capital Partners managing director, Andrew Lapping, added: “Clean tech businesses with cutting-edge engineering expertise are crucial to the future of the automotive and energy storage industries worldwide.”

Hyperdrive is a development and manufacturing partner for OEMs seeking expertise to electrify cars and commercial vehicles, off-highway vehicles, industrial robots and stationary energy storage solutions.

It has also electrified an autonomous marine vehicle and last year supplied batteries for Europe’s fastest road-legal electric vehicle.

In addition, Hyperdrive Innovation is taking leading roles in a number of R&D projects, including work with Abingdon’s Oxis Energy on the Ultra-Low Temperature Battery (ULTB) project. The project is exploring the feasibility of a high energy density battery chemistry with packaging and control electronics, capable of operating in the Antarctic.

Such a battery would allow the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to significantly increase scientific measurements made in the region, without increasing transport costs or emissions.

Hyperdrive Innovation is also involved in projects to develop two off-highway vehicles with electric powertrains.

Hyperdrive is a founder member of the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), which has been established to support the growth of the sector in the region and is recruiting in engineering and operational roles.

The company is seeking experienced battery distribution partners and has capacity at the Sunderland plant to ramp up production to 10,000 packs a year.

In 2015 Hyperdrive secured private investment in new facilities at the Future Technology Centre in Sunderland and moved into serial manufacture of battery systems.

The systems can be connected to provide power needed for a range of different requirements, from small portable power packs and industrial robots to much larger on and off-highway vehicles, such as buses, trucks, and construction plant.

The company has attracted a multi-million pound investment in its battery management technology and is working with vehicle manufacturers, Tier 1 suppliers, battery cell developers and utility providers to commercialise new systems.