The Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST) has joined a major new multi-million-pound project to help design new light-weight battery casings for the next generation of electric cars.
Funded by £3.3m from Innovate UK, LIBERATE – Lightweight Innovative Battery Enclosures using Recycled Aluminium Technologies – aims to use high-strength, low weight aluminium alloys to design a battery enclosure that is 30% lighter than current designs, whilst reducing material costs by up to 60%.
The selected aluminium alloys will combine strength, crash resistance, thermal management and infinite recyclability with lower weight to make them an ideal selection for structural battery enclosures. The new design approach will help lower part count and assembly time, improve tolerances and reduce battery costs – all of which will serve to make battery systems more viable for mass market vehicles in the future.
Brunel will work alongside other members of the Constellium UK consortium, which also includes, Innoval Technology, Grainger & Worrall and Warwick Manufacturing Group, and Impression Technologies Ltd (ITL) . Enclosures designed by the group over the course of the two-year project will ultimately be used in cars defined by BWM group and Volvo.
Jonathan Watkins, CEO of ITL, said: “Reducing the weight of battery enclosures is highly significant for improving the range and cost-effectiveness of ULEVs. HFQ technology enables OEM designers to incorporate complex geometries formed from high-strength aluminium sheet, thereby combining weight and cost reduction with package efficiency. This project aims to exploit the part count reduction potential of HFQ to simplify the design and address joining, sealing and assembly challenges. LIBERATE is just one of many emerging market opportunities that has seen new manufacturing partners engage with and take up HFQ Technology.”