Apr 3, 2012 0
UK Company set to export to European and US customers
One of the UK’s leading hybrid van developers, Ashwoods Automotives of Exeter has launched its own range of battery management systems and electric motors for hybrid and electric vehicles.
The new components are designed to offer optimum performance, quality and price. The company has launched a modular based Axial Flux Permanent Magnet motor which can be assembled within one hour (expected to be the lowest $ per kW motor on the market); an integrated Lithium Battery Pack Module which provides a simple, scalable plug and play power cell; and a Battery Management System that can support the full range of Lithium-ion chemistries.
Ashwoods is already renowned as the UK’s largest supplier of hybrid vehicles and developed this range of components as an integral part of its continued development of its Hybrid Drive Technology. The new products were developed as part of a consortium with Citroen, Life Batt and Sevcon with grant funding support from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board.
The company believes the new range of components offers a unique combination of durability, performance and value for money – a combination that Ashwoods Global Applications Manager; Bob Beckwith explained was a market challenge that needed a solution.
‘Battery Management is probably the single biggest challenge facing the Electric Vehicle (EV) and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) market as it affects all aspects of vehicle performance,’ he said.
‘One of the greatest challenges that our engineers faced when developing the Hybrid Drive technology was the lack of effective battery management. There are no Battery Management Systems (BMS’s) available on the market that can effectively manage Lithium batteries on a demanding hybrid drive cycle.’
He added that access to the company’s own vehicle data had been critical to this development project – particularly in terms of showing its true functional capability.
‘We were able to work with data from 150 Ashwoods Hybrid vehicles with proprietary BMS that have covered over two million miles. No other BMS supplier has access to this level of detailed real world data and this was crucial for the development process. This has been an application led development project driven with the outcome of delivering a functional product that has not only been proven in day to day transport settings but has real market potential. Moving forwards all our hybrid and electric applications will be made up of our own component parts.’
Ashwoods is now supplying its BMS in volume to a number of UK and European customers in the military, automotive and stationary power markets. It hopes that in the next two years that export numbers will grow by over 400 per cent and this year is predicting a turnover of over £10m.
The company is now targeting the US market where Bob believes that Ashwoods Energy can break into a market that is currently dominated by larger companies.
He said: ‘As a smaller company entering this market we have the advantage that we can be truly flexible and innovative in response to customers – however we can combine that with a data source that many larger companies would envy thanks to our growing fleet of hybrid drive vans.
‘In addition our new component range offers versatility and simplicity – and is competitive on pricing – all key issues for customers in this sector.’