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Ricardo says it will work on a partially UK government funded collaborative ‘PowerDrive Line’ project to develop a lithium-based solid-state battery for EVs and PHEVs, and establish a pre-pilot line for this solid-state battery cell technology.

Solid-state lithium battery technology is widely seen as having the potential to transform the performance and safety of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (EVs and PHEVs). The major benefits of solid-state batteries derive from their use of non-flammable solid electrolyte as opposed to the organic solvent used in current lithium-ion batteries, which is both flammable and has a relatively short useful life. In terms of performance, solid-state lithium batteries offer the prospect of much faster charging times, increased energy density, increased life cycle of up to 10 years, and extremely low discharge leakage.

This 30-month collaborative PowerDrive Line project will develop a lithium-based solid-state battery for EVs and PHEVs, and establish a pre-pilot line for this solid-state battery cell technology, building upon Ilika’s Stereax manufacturing experience. The project will also develop materials and processes for a new UK-based solid-state materials supply chain.

The innovative solid-state battery technology will enable cells that are both safer more energy and power dense. This will facilitate ultra-fast charging, enabling a PHEV or EV driver to charge their car in as little as 15 to 25 minutes. It will also put the UK on a path to produce materials for the manufacture of solid-state battery cells and packs and in a world-leading position to exploit the technology globally.

Ricardo will design and construct a prototype battery module to demonstrate its potential in-vehicle performance. The company will also apply its industry-leading expertise in EV Battery Management Systems (BMS) technology. By its incorporation of high processing power and model-based control capability, Ricardo’s approach is ideally suited to the evaluation of new and innovative cell chemistries, where the careful monitoring and close control of every aspect of battery cell and pack performance can be essential for effective development and evaluation. Ricardo will additionally develop the BMS to enable a capability for super- and ultrafast charging at ratings of 50-350 kW, in a manner that can be demonstrated in the prototype battery module.

“Ricardo is pleased to be working alongside partners including Ilika, the Centre for Process Innovation and University College London, in this important project for the future of electrified vehicles,” commended Ricardo director for the passenger car and motorcycle market sector, Martin Tolliday. “Solid-state lithium battery technology offers the potential of significant improvements in performance and safety, in a more compact and lighter weight package than current electric vehicle battery technology. If successful, solid-state battery systems could have a transformative effect on the market for EVs and PHEVs, helping the world decarbonise road transportation more quickly and effectively than would otherwise be possible.”

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By GlobalData

The PowerDrive Line project has been awarded funding under the UK Government’s Faraday Battery Challenge: Innovation R&D, round 2, with balancing contributions from the project’s commercial partners. Funding will be provided via the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.