UK developer and manufacturer of lithium ion battery packs Hyperdrive Innovation has entered into an agreement with Taiwan’s Foxlink Automotive Technology, opening up demand for its battery packs throughout Asia.

 

The agreement covers the manufacture, sale and distribution of Hyperdrive’s modular battery pack across the region, including Japan and China.

Foxlink Group is one of the world’s biggest manufacturers with revenues of almost $3 billion (€2.4 billion) in 2016.

Hyperdrive makes a modular battery pack, including a 5kWh product, using the same pouch cells used in the battery packs of Nissan’s electric vehicles (EVs), including the Leaf.

 

Bridging new markets

Nissan has been developing and making rechargeable batteries since 2008, through joint venture company Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), which it set up with NEC.

Nissan’s battery plant in Sunderland, where Hyperdrive is also based, makes battery packs using AESC’s pouch cells for all of its electric cars and vans sold in Europe.

Under a global supply agreement with Nissan, Hyperdrive is able to develop and produce batteries for other applications, using the AESC cells. This avoids the need for manufacturers having to do bespoke battery development, which can entail significant investment and time.

In addition to stationary energy storage markets, Hyperdrive’s battery packs have been developed for application in a collection of niche markets that span forklift trucks, autonomous construction machines, street cleaning trucks, airport ground fleets, plus other off-highway EV segments.

Hyperdrive has developed the battery pack as a universal standardised product that can be easily scaled up in order to meet the requirements of these various markets. The packs are supplied with, or without, the company’s battery management system (BMS).

Hyperdrive’s pilot line for prototyping and pack assembly in Sunderland has an annual capacity of 10,000 units, based on its 5kWh packs.

A recently completed project, funded by a joint UK government and automotive industry initiative, provided Hyperdrive with the opportunity to collaborate with Nissan on high energy density batteries, which then led to investment in the pilot line.

 

A lithium ion battery module (Courtesy: Hyperdrive Innovation)

Taiwan production line

The agreement with Foxlink effectively doubles Hyperdrive’s capacity as Foxlink is committed to building a line in Taiwan to replicate the UK firm’s line. The packs Foxlink will make at the plant will be sold under Hyperdrive’s brand.

AESC, which Nissan agreed to sell to Chinese investor GSR Capital in 2017, following its buyout of NEC’s shareholding, has been instrumental in bringing Hyperdrive and Foxlink together.

The work Hyperdrive has carried out using AESC’s cells has resulted in a battery pack well-suited to provide uninterruptible power supply (UPS) functionality, or back-up.

In the UK, Off Grid Energy is one of the first customers to use battery packs from Hyperdrive Innovation for a stationary energy storage application. Off Grid Energy, based in Rugby, supplies its rugged energy storage systems where there is a need for temporary power, reducing reliance on diesel generation.

In the next few months, Hyperdrive will announce a customer that is commercialising a residential energy storage system in the UK and other markets and has identified social housing as a potential end-use market for the product.