Britishvolt partners with Siemens for gigafactory technology

19 January 2021

19 January 2021

UK gigafactory developer Britishvolt has entered an exclusive technology collaboration with Siemens UK as it continues to develop plans for the country’s first large-scale, electrically-chargeable vehicle, (EV) battery-manufacturing site.

The tech company is providing Britishvolt with access to its Digital Enterprise Technology software, which helps speed up lithium-ion battery-development and production through design, execution and simulation tools. By using Siemens’ technology, Britishvolt hopes to achieve its plans for first deliveries to customers by 2023.

This date is important for Britishvolt, as it ties in with the end of the first transition period for the locally-sourced component threshold cited in the UK and European Union’s trade deal following Brexit.

The agreement signed between the EU and the UK states in Annex Orig-2B: Transitional product-specific rules for electric accumulators and electrified vehicles, that accumulators and battery cells must either be produced in the EU or comprise no more than 70% non-EU components before tariffs are introduced up until 31 December 2023. Hybrid (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) can comprise no more than 60% non-EU or UK components.

With carmakers looking to increase their production of EVs across the continent, and with UK-based manufacturing plants already converting to manufacturing such vehicles in the country, Britishvolt will likely have plenty of demand for its services. The new gigafactory will allow companies to bring locally-sourced component figures up in time for the end of the second deadline in 2026.

As the UK looks to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in 2030, before moving to the sale of only zero-carbon vehicles by 2035, there is greater need to increase EV manufacturing as the country’s public switches on to the idea of electrified vehicles. Britishvolt’s gigafactory will be the UK’s first and will help reduce shipping times between suppliers of lithium-ion batteries and vehicle-production lines, increasing efficiency.

Simulation theory

The collaboration will see Siemens provide Britishvolt with access to automation, electrification solutions and digital-twin, manufacturing-execution technology. This will allow the simulation of gigaplant production processes and flows ahead of construction completion. Britishvolt can therefore ensure optimisation of its plant design and efficiencies.

Additionally, Siemens is providing Britishvolt with its latest design and simulation-development tools, accelerating the time it takes for state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery cells to go from laboratory to production at scale, reducing the risk of delays through unproven systems or production bugs.

‘Working with Siemens and utilising its global expertise in digital twin and simulation technologies will play a pivotal role in Britishvolt achieving its tight deadlines to begin producing world-class batteries, at scale, by the end of 2023,’ commented Orral Nadjari, Britishvolt CEO. ‘Being able to simulate the production of lithium-ion batteries and cell development speeds up a complicated process and allows us to bring crucial batteries to market quicker. Working with leading global partners such as Siemens helps us stay firmly on course in our mission to build the UK’s first battery gigaplant.’