Collins Limited’s battery range extension concept wins NVN funding

Silverstone Technology Cluster

25th March 2022

A feasibility study into range extension in electric vehicles has successfully won STC member Collins Limited a share of funding from the Niche Vehicle Network.

Jenner and Jilbruke Collins’ business has demonstrated how their concept could potentially reduce battery mass by as much as 50% in smaller vehicles.

In addition, by re-working the battery’s architecture, additional torque, speed and range could be generated.

Jenner commented: “The seed idea is from an e-scooter project we have been involved with for two years. However, initial research suggests this could be well-suited to small and/or micro vehicles.

“These make up the greatest proportion of vehicles so from a commercial standpoint it works, too.”

Collins Limited’s concept was among the successful bids in NVN’s recent Feasibility Study focusing on low carbon/net zero technologies by SMEs and start-up businesses, and has earned it funding to continue development.

It’s the fourth successful bid for NVN funding in as many years by the company, which provides niche vehicle development engineering services and consultancy from its HQ in Oxfordshire.

Jenner added: “As an engineer you always ask yourself: ‘Do our ideas and understanding of the physics involved stack up?’

“The funding from NVN will be used for physical testing to initially prove the concept; the next step will be an in-depth drive cycle simulation.”

A re-thinking of battery architecture, believes Jenner, can open up new opportunities for manufacturers of electric vehicles.

“For a given battery architecture, the concept has the ability to increase vehicle speeds on flat terrain, increase load capacity for hill climbing, or both. It can also increase kinetic energy recovery and increase safety systems within the battery. 

“We’re keen to demonstrate to the NVN that the concept works and that there’s a commercial outlet.

“A lot of it involves competitor analysis and market research to identify who we might be able to speak to in terms of small vehicle companies to help them tackle the ‘real world challenges’ that they face – it’s got to be a technology that people need, opposed to a ‘that’s quite interesting’ which people soon forget.”

Collins Limited is working on the feasibility study with ‘steering partner’ Delta Cosworth, which itself has recently unveiled microturbine technology that could massively increase range for plug-in hybrid vehicles as well as marine vessels and aircraft.

Jenner continued: “The partnership with a larger organisation such as Delta Cosworth is valuable for both companies. It adds credibility to the project by driving the development in a commercially aligned direction and ensures the steering partner has direct access to potentially ground-breaking technologies.

“We saw these benefits during our first grant funded project supported by GKN Automotive around novel CV joint topologies.”


By Carl McKellar

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