The government has planned to invest £9.7m into the Celeritas project which aims to reduce electric vehicle battery charging times to 12 mins. This is hoped to increase the adoption of EVs and help push towards the government’s target of zero tailpipe emissions by 2050.  

Funding is being given by the Advanced Propulsion Centre and consortium members Sprint Power, BMW, BP, AMTE Power, Clas-SiC and Eltrium. Working together, Sprint Power’s battery platform will combine innovations from each partner. Such as: AMTE Power’s rapid charging technology, BP’s thermal management and next generation EV fluid technology, 1,200V silicon-carbide switching devices from Clas-SiC, Eltrium’s advanced 800V manufacturing capabilities, and Sprint Power’s own 800V DC-DC converter and BMS technologies. 

The project is set to produce two battery systems, one for electric vehicles and one for fuel-cell hybrid electric vehicles (FCHEVs). These will include integrated 800v to 12V DC-DC converter, an 800V BMS and multiple charging interfaces that will include provisions for wireless charging in the future.  

The platform architecture will be manufacturer agnostic and could even be used in commercial vehicles, energy-storage systems and the marine, off-highway and aerospace sectors.  

Ben Russel, Sprint Power’s commercial director, has said: “Sprint Power sits at the heart of the project, leading the consortium. We’re developing our battery architecture to bring it up to 800V. An 800V architecture allows the platform to be lighter and more efficient. A higher voltage allows for a lower current to be used when charging, reducing overheating and increasing efficiency.” 

“We’re developing the battery management system (BMS), DC-DC converter, module and pack designs in an integrated system incorporating multiple charging protocols.” 

The government’s target of complete sales of zero-emission vehicles includes a complete ban on electric powered vehicles and diesel engines by 2030. 

While Electric Vehicles may seem like the obvious choice to lower our carbon emissions, some people are still hesitant to buy these vehicles. Only 68% of UK households have access to off street parking that enables home charging and forecourt charging, which takes 22-90mins. Other public charging stations take a considerably longer amount of time which is only set to increase.  

Russell explained: “If you’ve got queues coming out of forecourts because everyone’s there for 30-40 minutes, that’s a problem. We see these technologies making huge gains, particularly in cities, built-up areas where people don’t necessarily have access to home charging. If you could turn up to the charger at work, the supermarket or forecourt and it takes 12 minutes, that’s fantastic; just enough time to get coffee.” 

Russell added that the two-year Celeritas project will “accelerate manufacturers’ programmes and therefore adoption of BEVs and FCHEVs by several years”. 

Furthermore, the project also aims to develop the supply chain to allow UK BEV and mild-hybrid EV manufacturers to achieve post-Brexit obligations of over 50% of parts sourced from UK suppliers.  

Project Celeritas is due to be completed in January 2024.