Aston Martin signs agreement to develop batteries with Britishvolt
Aston Martin Rapide E electric vehicle on display at Auto Shanghai 2019 in Shanghai, China.
Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Aston Martin is to work with Britishvolt on developing ‘high performance battery cell technology’ as the carmaker prepares to launch a battery electric vehicle in 2025. The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to plans.
In an announcement Monday, the companies said a joint R&D team would “design, develop and industrialize batteries, including bespoke modules and a battery management system.”
Known for its luxury gas-powered vehicles, Aston Martin is trying to broaden its offering to customers by tapping into the booming electric vehicle market.
According to the company, all of its new product lines will offer the option of an electrified powertrain by 2026. Deliveries of a plug-in hybrid, the Valhalla, will begin in 2024 and it wants its “core portfolio to be fully electrified”. by 2030.”
While Aston Martin is focusing on electric vehicles, the internal combustion engine remains important to the company and it recently launched a new non-electric SUV, called DBX707.
“It will be, and still is, the world’s largest ultra-luxury, performance SUV,” Lawrence Stroll, executive chairman of Aston Martin, told CNBC in an interview.
Britishvolt is building a gigafactory in the county of Northumberland, in the northeast of England. The company has received support from the UK government and Glencore, among others.
Gigafactories are facilities that produce batteries for electric vehicles on a large scale. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been widely credited with coining the term.
Britishvolt says its factory will have the capacity to produce more than 300,000 EV batteries each year. It is hoped that the first phase of the gigafactory will begin production in the fourth quarter of 2023 or early 2024.
In a statement on Monday, Aston Martin Lagonda CEO Tobias Moers said the partnership with Britishvolt provides “Aston Martin with additional access to technology and skills to expand our electrification options”.
Aston Martin is one of many companies trying to develop and secure a supply of batteries for electric vehicles. In January, for example, Lotus signed a memorandum of understanding with Britishvolt centered on “next generation battery cells”.
Elsewhere, in February, Volvo Cars and Northvolt announced they would build a battery manufacturing plant in Gothenburg, Sweden, with construction due to start in 2023.
The companies said the development was to “have a potential annual cell production capacity of up to 50 gigawatt hours.” That would be equivalent to providing enough batteries for around 500,000 cars each year, they said.
According to the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers, 878,432 new battery-electric passenger cars were registered in the EU last year, compared to 538,734 in 2020. For new passenger cars, the market share of electric vehicles battery power was 9.1% in 2021.
Despite the drop in registrations of new petrol and diesel vehicles, electric vehicles still have a long way to go before representing the bulk of registrations. ACEA said “conventional fuel types continued to dominate car sales in the EU in terms of market share in 2021, accounting for 59.6% of all new registrations”.
– CNBC’s Sam Shead contributed to this report.