Britishvolt is using digital twin technology to develop a large format 46 x 90 mm (4690) cylindrical lithium ion battery cell for electric vehicles in the UK.
The 4690 format cell is to be developed and prototyped at the recently acquired EAS facility in Germany before being transferred to the UK for scale-up at the company’s Hams Hall facility in the Midlands ahead of large-scale production at the company’s Northumberland Gigaplant battery manufacturing facility.
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The 4690 cell pathway uses digital twin simulation and modelling provides analytical data and tools for production, and makes it easier to customise the cell with longer or shorter lengths. This technology will be transferred to EAS for development and prototyping.
Cell chemistry development and optimisation pathways are underway, coupled to cell mechanical design engineering, which builds upon the expertise in prototyping and cell design at EAS and is linked to development programmes with Britishvolt’s cell manufacturing equipment suppliers.
4690 is among a range of new battery products Britishvolt plans to bring to market this decade it says, including versions with longer and shorter cell lengths.
“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,” said Orral Nadjari, Founder/CEO of Britishvolt.
“We start with digital twin/simulation modelling, 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,” he said.
Successful production of A-samples of its first 21700 (21 x 70mm) cylindrical cells at the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre followed prototyping at the WMG at the University of Warwick. This used the same process from digital to physical, gives Britishvolt confidence that the data captured digitally will manifest in the new cell format. The first batch of 21700 cells will be available for customer testing later in 2022.
Earlier this week the company extended its initial one year development contract with WMG. A two year programme will see research at WMG assist with battery cell development and optimisation including small-scale manufacturing to produce battery electrodes and cells using Britishvolt target materials sets, formulations and cell designs. These will then be tested according to Britishvolt’s agreed protocols.
Earlier this year, Britishvolt signed memorandums of understanding with Lotus Cars to develop an electric sports car powered by Britishvolt cells. It as also signed a deal with Aston Martin to supply the cells for its first battery electric vehicle in 2025.
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