New site to design, develop and produce batteries for low-volume, high-performance vehicles as a technical showcase for the UK industry

Williams Advanced Engineering, the technology company spawned from Williams Grand Prix Engineering, is heading a consortium that’ll launch a new Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) facility in Britain.

The facility will design, develop and produce batteries to be used in low-volume, high performance automotive products and act as a catalyst for technology development. The all-electric Aston Martin RapideE (pictured), which Williams Advanced Engineering has helped develop the technology for, could be the site’s halo product when it goes into production by the end of the decade. 

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Working alongside Unipart, Coventry University, Warwick University’s WMG, Productiv, MCT ReMan and The National Composites, the Williams Advanced Engineering’s APC consortium is being backed by the government following a successful bid for the project. Its facility will be able to adapt to changing demand in order to overcome existing supply chain gaps in the industry.

APC director of technology and projects Jon Beasley said “This project will focus on flexible manufacturing, design for manufacture, UK supply-chain development, recycling and reuse and save over one million tonnes of CO2.

“Through a partnership of companies, the project will further develop and make available battery systems in order to overcome significant supply chain gaps in the UK and be able to offer support to UK companies researching and developing cell chemistry, and opportunity for acceleration to commercialisation.”

Managing director Craig Wilson added “We truly believe we can make a difference to the UK’s manufacturing capabilities and offer a significant contribution to the future of the automotive industry and energy storage in general.

“Williams has always endeavoured to work collaboratively with our customers to meet their sustainability challenges and find energy efficient solutions. This project will build on the extensive battery experience and know-how we have accumulated over the past ten years and is a big step in the right direction to further the UK’s battery manufacturing capabilities, supporting future electric vehicle requirements.”

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11 April 2017
It's hard to understate just how huge the market for batteries will be in the next decade.

British government would do well to incentivise other companies to set up battery factories here, because exporting millions (billions?) of pounds' worth of battery packs has the potential to significantly stimulate the GDP.

Williams is taking an important first step - if there's local expertise and a supply chain, it may encourage others to set up shop.

11 April 2017
Hard to overstate, I mean. Oops!

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