Hyperdrive opens UK’s largest independent battery facility

A new UK manufacturing facility set up to cater for the growing demand for battery energy storage has opened its doors today (July 11th, 2019).

JCB’s first all-electric excavator outside the HYVE facility

Based in Sunderland, the so-called HYVE facility has been set up by lithium-ion battery specialist Hyperdrive and will allow the company to produce up to 30,000 lithium-ion battery packs a year.

The 21,000 square foot facility is the largest of its kind outside major OEMs like Nissan and will serve customers including JCB, which is using the batteries in its first ever electric digger: the 19C-1E mini excavator.

Commenting on the opening of the facility, Hyperdrive CEO Chris Pennison said: “We’re working with some of the most forward-thinking and innovative organisations in the world as their trusted electrification and energy storage partner. HYVE enables us to deliver a high-quality product, providing our customers with the right energy at the right time.”

Founded in 2012, Hyperdrive Innovation designs and builds lithium-ion battery systems for powering off-highway and materials handling vehicles.

Support from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) played an integral role in the early stages of Hyperdrive’s seven-year history. The High Energy Density Battery Project (HEDB), in partnership with Nissan and funded by a £9.7m APC grant, enabled Hyperdrive’s latest battery technology to be brought to market.

The company has since secured a global supply agreement to incorporate Nissan’s lithium-ion cells into its high-performance battery systems, and in 2018 launched a modular battery platform incorporating Nissan’s cells that is claimed to provide 50 per cent more energy density and a significantly lower cost per kWh.

Hyperdrive last year completed a major £40m deal with Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxlink Group. The deal means Foxlink can now use Hyperdrive’s intellectual property to produce and sell its modular battery pack across Asia.

The new site was developed with £7m of internal investment alongside £60,000 of assistance from Sunderland City Council, which has also supported the firm by organising overseas trade missions.

“Hyperdrive is a terrific example of Sunderland’s world-class status in automotive, advanced manufacturing and knowledge economy,” commented council leader Graeme Miller. “Its phenomenal growth and global success will bring new opportunities and highly skilled jobs to the city and help to solve urgent energy and environmental challenges worldwide.”