IONETIC, the dynamic UK start-up specialising in electric vehicle battery pack technology, launched its state-of-the-art EV battery pack design platform, which can cut the development cost and time for automotive manufacturers bringing a new electric vehicle to market.
Producing a high-performance and safe battery pack solution has traditionally been expensive and time-consuming for many automotive companies. Fully customised designs are often unaffordable, while existing off-the-shelf battery pack solutions suffer from low energy density and poor optimisation. This is particularly true for lower volume niche automotive manufacturers with unique requirements.
IONETIC overcomes these problems by offering an efficient blend of cost and customisation to help accelerate battery pack development like never before. It’s state of the art software-based platform can boost energy density by 30% and increase utilisation of pack volume by up to 120%, compared to existing off-the-shelf solutions.
It can also produce a battery pack design in days and reduce the costs of getting from requirements to mass manufacture by over 90% for automotive OEMs. This is due to the platform’s ability to automatically generate designs according to a series of fully adjustable parameters, while offering a vertically integrated solution to battery pack production, which includes homologation and mass manufacture.
IONETIC is planning to open its first UK-based battery manufacturing facility next year, which will enable it to begin pilot production of its own battery pack designs. This will make IONETIC the only UK-based battery pack developer to offer an end-to-end, in-house battery solution, from conceptualisation and prototyping through to homologation and production.
James Eaton, CEO and Co-Founder of IONETIC, said: “There are many stages needed to get a battery pack into production. Automotive companies need to consider requirements, system design, homologation, embedded control, manufacturing options, and vehicle integration, to name a few. These stages are often done by different companies, which can lead to a costly, fragmented process. At IONETIC we facilitate all these stages, simplifying the process and reducing the cost for EV OEMs. We’re currently focusing on niche automotive companies in the UK and Europe. They typically make less than 10,000 vehicles per year, so probably don’t meet the minimum order quantities of large global battery pack suppliers, or can’t meet their high design fees. These niche vehicle-makers are the unsung heroes that keep society functioning. Trucks, buses, construction vehicles, service vehicles and emergency vehicles all need to electrify in the next decade. We’re also in talks with iconic car brands and sports car manufacturers. Gigafactories are mainly catering for mass-produced, cars. There’s a risk that some of these niche, historic car brands might not survive electrification unless companies such as IONETIC address their specific needs.”
Dr. Monica Marinescu, Co-Founder of IONETIC and Senior Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London, said: “The EV battery sector is set to grow 15-30% annually for the next 10 years and so there is a huge opportunity for an agile start-up such as IONETIC. At a time when competition in this space is stronger than ever, it is crucial automotive companies pursue battery technologies that provide a balance between performance, cost reduction and resource optimisation. Our battery solution is the product of a diverse team of battery scientists, educated and trained at Imperial College, one of the world’s leading universities. We leverage the latest, state-of-the-art technologies to help businesses transition to electric mobility.”
Many existing commercially available battery packs have energy densities of 130-160Wh/kg. A Tesla Model 3 has a module energy density of 197Wh/kg and a pack energy density of 156Wh/kg. A Nissan Leaf module (which many niche vehicle companies use) has an energy density of 191Wh/kg and a pack energy density of 132Wh/kg. A VDA 390 module has an energy density of approximately 200Wh/kg. Used in the Porsche Taycan, it has a pack energy density of 144Wh/kg. IONETIC’s battery modules have an energy density of 226Wh/kg. IONETIC’s pack architecture is most similar to Tesla, so a pack energy density of at least 180Wh/kg is targeted. This is a 36% improvement over the Nissan Leaf.
IONETIC’s modules are customised automatically by our design platform. This means they can be optimised for the volume available to the customer for their battery pack. Off the shelf modules are a fixed length so the vehicle must be designed around them. To give an example, a 110cm space can fit two VDA390 modules, but leaves a 32cm space; not enough to fit a third but still a large empty space. In a design exercise with an electric conversion company, we achieved an energy of 88kWh in the same space previously occupied by a 40kWh off the shelf system, an increase of 120% energy.
The current process to get a 70kWh battery pack into production includes going to a design consultancy to develop a prototype, putting that prototype into production in a new factory, and homologating at a test house. This process can ordinarily cost between £40-80m. Due to IONETIC’s technology, capabilities, and production strategy, this cost can be reduced to £4-10m, for a 70kWh battery pack. £40 million reduced by 90% is £4million.