Evaluating Niche Battery Production

Evaluating Niche Battery Production

Ricardo researches feasibility of niche UK battery facility


Ricardo has leveraged its expertise in niche volume manufacturing, battery R&D, recycling, and strategic consultancy to study the feasibility of manufacturing critical electric vehicle components.

As part of its mission to support the decarbonisation of the global transport and energy sectors, Ricardo, announced that it has received UK Government funding to assess the commercial viability of a facility to assemble battery packs for UK manufacturers of smaller volume vehicles, i.e. those which produce fewer than 10,000 vehicles per year such as those required for rail, commercial and off-highway vehicles.

These UK electrified vehicle manufacturers include some of the world’s best known prestige brands which create their luxury cars, special vehicles, and off-highway machines for a customer base in the low thousands. This compares with the hundreds of thousands or millions of vehicles produced for the mass market. The economic study considers how to meet the particular battery hardware needs of these diverse manufacturers across a wide range of business sectors, by ensuring a UK supply chain in electric vehicle components.

Martin Starkey, Managing Director for Ricardo Performance Products said: “The UK automotive industry has a diverse mix of sector-leading manufacturers. The volume requirements and flexible product specifications of niche volume manufacturers are not aligned with the high-volume outputs from emerging ‘gigafactories’. A niche volume battery manufacturing facility will help to establish a robust supply chain for these critical electrification components. In doing so, it will deliver national competitive advantage for the UK, and support the mass adoption of electrification by making it more affordable, helping to contribute to the green bounce back through sustainable practices. Ricardo’s future manufacturing strategy is very much aligned to this emerging need for electrified vehicle components. Leveraging our proven track record in industrialising technology, we are very pleased to have received the funding, which will enable us to pursue this strategy, and help the UK reach its ambitious targets to achieve its net zero goals.”

Battery Manufacturing
As part of the study, Ricardo assessed how the proposed facility could help minimise the risk of scaling up the innovation of new battery concepts to niche volumes. Harnessing its world-renowned expertise in batteries, the company will also explore opportunities to minimise the environmental impact of battery pack manufacture through ‘second life processing’ and recycling of core elements from construction.

Ricardo has published its findings on the future of niche volume battery manufacture in the UK, and it is available to download here

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