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Developing lithium-ion battery technology to power green transport

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Hyperdrive Innovation lithium-ion battery
Hyperdrive Innovation lithium-ion battery

Hyperdrive Innovation develops and manufactures market-leading lithium-ion battery technology to power green transport and provide innovative energy storage.

From our base in Sunderland, we are fitting the following with lithium-ion energy storage systems:

  • cars
  • off-highway vehicles
  • factory automation robots
  • autonomous marine vessels
  • portable and mobile temporary power systems
  • UPS and distributed energy storage

We’re giving vehicle makers the opportunity to electrify their fleets, with the integration support of an expert external engineering team.

Our batteries are also being incorporated into off-grid and grid-connected energy storage, and hybrid standby power applications.

Champions for automotive innovation in North East England

At home in the Northeast, Hyperdrive is a champion for technology innovation within the automotive supply chain, and sits on the board of the Northeast Automotive Alliance. The company was founded by engineers Stephen Irish and Chris Baylis in February 2012. Hyperdrive focused its early efforts on R&D, before moving into prototype manufacture and then larger series production of custom and standard commercial product. It now has 30 employees, and turnover this year is set to hit £3 million.

Government funding has been an integral part of our journey

Hyperdrive Innovation lithium-ion battery being installed
Hyperdrive Innovation lithium-ion battery being installed

Innovate UK has been part of Hyperdrive’s journey from the start.

  1. Electric cars: one of our first projects was the development of range extender technology fitted to a small electric car.

The car itself was the result of the Innovate UK-supported Compact Urban Electric Vehicle (Cue-V) programme, which took a fleet of petrol-powered cars and fitted them with electric powertrains, incorporating Hyperdrive’s battery management technology.

  1. Collaboration on marine vehicle: this demonstration of our capabilities led to a collaboration with Autonomous Surface Vehicles and the C-Enduro long endurance marine unmanned surface vehicle.

Hyperdrive designed and built the powertrain and battery pack for the autonomous offshore instrumentation vessel, which can operate at sea for up to three months at a time and is suited to ocean survey, scientific, and defence applications.

  1. Electrified fleets: with our focus on scaling up the production of battery packs and investment in a manufacturing facility in Sunderland, we secured two Innovate UK off-highway projects which provide a potential route to market for Hyperdrive products in newly electrified fleets.

The projects – to hybridise the powertrain of an aircraft push-back tractor and an electric road sweeper – will both use standard Hyperdrive 48V packs configured and scaled in a system to suit the application, thereby reducing emissions and providing operational savings and benefits.

  1. Cell balancing efficiency: we also continue to develop our innovative Battery Management System technology which is at the core of our product offering.

Another ongoing collaboration supported by Innovate UK is helping to reduce charge times and improve cell balancing efficiency.

Essentially, Innovate UK helps us progress innovative product development, and provides a catalyst to work with other British companies to commercialise technology in specific applications.

Without this funding, most of these developments would not have happened. We continue to look for new opportunities.

Growth and development abroad

Stephen Irish, Hyperdrive MD and co-founder
Stephen Irish, Hyperdrive MD and co-founder

Hyperdrive Innovation is targeting three-fold growth again this year and has recently benefited from more than £3 million in fresh investment. The company announced investment of a total of £3.2 million from venture capital firms Hamilton Capital Partners and Rivers Capital earlier this year, alongside its R&D grant funding from Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

2016 is set to be a key year in the company’s development, with the launch of standard, scalable 12V and 48V lithium-ion battery systems, and a number of new development projects with globally renowned brands, including Nissan.

This year we also built the batteries for a record-breaking project, the Flux Capacitor, which became the world’s fastest street legal EV in July.

We were part of a UK Pavilion backed by Innovate UK and the Advanced Propulsion Centre at the Japanese Society of Automotive Engineers congress in Yokohama. It was also hugely constructive and demonstrates our willingness to look for partners outside Britain.

It is developments such as these that will help Britain position itself as one of the leading nations for the engineering and manufacturing of environmentally-friendly automotive technology.

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