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An electric vehicle pack that offers a 35% improvement in range has been developed by Axeon in a project co-funded by the UK Government’s Technology Strategy Board.

The battery uses Lithium Nickel Cobalt Manganese (NCM) chemistry, which theoretically requires 50% less volume and 30% less mass when compared to Lithium Iron Phosphate large-format prismatic cells. The battery also integrates an automotive battery management system (BMS) that works with multiple cell chemistries, has active balancing and delivers diagnostic and prognostic information to the vehicle control system. This new battery represents a real step forward in the development of electric vehicles and is highly versatile, being suitable for applications for many vehicle manufacturers and across a wide range of platforms, according to the company.

Axeon says its “expertise and deep understanding” of cell electrochemistry is enhanced by its’ manufacturing and testing capabilities, which have been developed over several years of manufacturing both of its own EV battery designs, and managing the manufacture and complete system integration of batteries for several customers to their design. Axeon recently managed a complete build-to-print project of an EV battery for a major US cell manufacturer with a European automotive customer. 

Axeon is Europe’s leading designer and manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion battery systems for a variety of electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) applications. Its blue chip clients include Rolls-Royce (for which it produced the world’s most powerful passenger EV battery), Jaguar and Rover, and also a European manufacturer of premium supercars, as well as manufacturers of fully electric urban delivery vehicles.

The company provides turn-key battery design, development, assembly and test capability throughout the product life cycle, backed up by its global sourcing capability and “cell-agnostic” approach. Axeon is independent of cell suppliers, allowing it to deploy the best cell for a particular application. It has, however, developed strategic partnerships with leading global cell manufacturers, including the US’s A123 and Dow Kokam, with which it has collaborated on a number of projects.

Axeon says its “cell agnosticism” gives it a wide variety of battery chemistries from which to choose, and the experience to engineer an optimized solution based on that chemistry. It works with lithium-ion chemistries, choosing the most appropriate variety for a particular application. For example, its batteries for urban delivery vehicles have typically deployed lithium iron phosphate, though this chemistry has also been used in high power applications. 

Axeon’s battery and charger systems are designed and manufactured to full automotive standards, incorporating all the exacting requirements of packaging design, thermal management, electronics, testing and vehicle integration.

Battery recycling and re-use

Axeon is one of six British companies to receive a share of nearly £500,000 funding from the Technology Strategy Board for feasibility studies into the recycling and re-use of batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. In addition to researching the recycling process, the project will look at how to determine end-of-life, which is still a major issue with automotive batteries for both manufacturers and consumers.

Establishing a battery recycling industry will improve environmental efficiency, create jobs in the UK automotive supply chain, boost materials supply and ensure materials are dealt with safely. Axeon will also develop a thorough and statistically-robust process for determining when batteries have reached their end of life and are ready to be recycled.

“The issue of end-of-life for batteries in hybrid and electric vehicles is incredibly important to OEMs and car buyers alike, particularly in respect of the economic and environmental considerations. Our project will help to define industry standards and best practice for battery recycling, which will be key to the mass commercialisation of battery-powered vehicles,” says Axeon CEO Lawrence Berns.