Newly formed battery manufacturer Hyperbat has announced it will open a multi-million-pound production plant in Coventry next year and plans to become the UK’s largest independent vehicle battery manufacturer .
It will begin operations by supplying batteries for Aston Martin’s first electric vehicle, the Rapide E.
Hyperbat is a joint venture between Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart Manufacturing Group, which will be building the facility.
As well as Aston Martin, Hyberbat’s Coventry plant will produce batteries for other hybrid and electric vehicles and provide a secure on-shore supply chain for UK-based carmakers as electric vehicle sales grow, the company said.
The Rapide E will be built at the carmaker’s St Athan assembly plant in South Wales, which is currently under construction and will be the future ‘home of electrification’ for Aston Martin and its re-launched Lagonda brand. Production starts next year.
According to Hyperbat, the battery factory will combine expertise in manufacturing, logistics and safe, innovative, high-performance vehicle battery technology.
Unipart Manufacturing is converting a former vehicle exhaust factory at its Beresford Avenue premises in Coventry. In a historic twist, the century-old building was also where some of Britain’s first petrol-driven cars were made.
“It is fitting that this site will now provide clean, sustainable electric batteries that can be tailored to individual auto manufacturers’ requirements and are available to a wide range of companies seeking to introduce electric vehicles into their ranges,” said Carol Burke, Unipart’s MD.
The site also houses the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME), a partnership between the company and Coventry University to develop the skills and capabilities required for the broader electric vehicle supply chain.
Burke added: “Using some of the most advanced manufacturing capabilities in this field, Hyperbat’s production facilities will be highly adaptable to meet the changing requirements of future demands.”
Aston Martin said a development partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering had enabled it to overcome technical challenges associated with packaging the battery system and motors within the space available. Williams Advanced Engineering’s experience of electrifying vehicles includes powering all the cars on the grid of the ABB FIA Formula E championship and special electric power projects.
Longer term, Hyperbat will also look at opportunities in non-automotive sectors, such as developing electric batteries for the marine and aircraft sectors.
The joint venture was inspired by H1perbat, set up by the Advanced Propulsion Centre in 2017 to build high-performance, low-volume, flexible battery capability in the UK. Hyperbat will also draw on the aspect of H1perbat’s work which looked at second-life options for car batteries, enabling a long-term sustainable future for them in the vehicles and beyond. H1perbat’s members include Williams, Unipart, AME and Aston Martin.
The Advanced Propulsion Centre, a partnership between the government and automotive industry, is tasked with ensuring the UK remains competitive in research, development and production of low-carbon automotive technologies.