Boost for electric cars thanks to UK research into battery tech

12 September 2019, 12:39 | Updated: 12 September 2019, 14:08

Electric vehicles could soon be cheaper to run and faster to charge thanks to research into the next generation of battery tech.

Six British universities have won a £55m grant from the Faraday Institution to research how to make it more efficient to power eco-friendly cars in a bid to make them more compelling and affordable.

The money will go towards the development of the next generation of lithium-ion batteries, with powerful new electrodes designed to unlock their full potential.

Researchers say using different materials could be used to make so-called "smart electrodes", which will be arranged with greater precision and provide greater performance benefits.

Advancements in this field have been described as a vital part of the electric car industry in the UK, with the government having pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions to close to zero by 2050.

Research to "revolutionise" the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries is the work of the Nextrode programme, which is being led by the University of Oxford.

Dr David Greenwood, who is part of the project, said: "Battery manufacturing is a critical industry for the UK to grow. It is highly competitive, and to win, we will need excellence in both science and manufacturing.

"The Nextrode project brings these two elements together to make future lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles more energy efficient and affordable."

Dr Greenwood told Sky News that the main aim of the project was to make the batteries cheaper, more durable, and capable of producing more energy and power.

He explained: "For the next 10 years, it is likely that lithium-ion batteries will dominate.

"There is lots we can do to improve those. We're investigating new materials, new manufacturing processes, and different ways of integrating batteries into a variety of vehicle types.

"Beyond that, I'm interested in sodium ion and solid state alternatives."

The research funding has been welcomed by the government, with business minister Nadhim Zahawi saying it would help deliver a "brighter, cleaner future on our roads".

He said the government remained committed to all cars and vans being effectively zero emission by 2040.