AVID Technology joins forces with Caterpillar on pioneering R&D project

North East-based cleantech engineering firm AVID Technology has joined forces with Caterpillar UK and Imperial College London to develop a new battery storage system for electric off-highway machinery.

Part-funded by Innovate UK's Faraday Challenge Industrial Strategy Fund, the project is worth £2.8 million, and will see the consortium working together to significantly improve battery life through advanced controls, monitoring and thermal management.

The overall aim is to create an advanced battery system capable of meeting the life cycle and load demands of a heavy duty electric or hybrid vehicle, whilst still delivering the high levels of energy density required.

Utilising sophisticated simulation techniques, the team will also demonstrate that integrated powertrain systems utilising battery storage can be commercially viable for electric and hybrid vehicles in the commercial on-highway as well as off-highway sectors.

Dr Gregory Offer from Imperial College London said: “We are excited to be working with Caterpillar and AVID Technology on developing the next generation of advanced battery packs for industrial machinery and heavy duty on road vehicles. The project will bring together multiple innovative ideas to deliver a step change in performance and cost for these aggressive applications, helping to develop the UK supply chain and create a world class battery industry in the UK.”

AVID’s core expertise lies in the design of power electronics and motors used in electric propulsion systems for the electric and hybrid vehicle industry, robotics and aerospace sectors. The company has significant experience in the design of battery and thermal management systems.

Ryan Maughan, managing director of AVID Technology Group Ltd, explains: “We are delighted to be collaborating with Caterpillar and Imperial College London on this R&D project.

“In recent years there have been major advances in energy storage driven in part by the boom in the automotive sector for electric and hybrid passenger cars. This has resulted in huge improvements in energy density and crucially cost.

“However the emissions and environmental impact of heavy duty vehicles such as trucks, buses and construction machinery is far greater due to the high operating hours and power factors required.

“This means there is huge potential for the design and manufacture of electrification systems to improve the situation. But it also presents several challenges in delivering electric vehicle drive trains that are robust enough and able to deliver the performance required.

“By working in collaboration with Caterpillar and Imperial College London, we have the potential to make a real impact at the cutting-edge of innovation in battery technology in the UK.”

To meet increasing demand for automotive electronics and powertrain technology, AVID has invested over £2 million in its Northumberland HQ since 2017, extending its range of services and expanding its research and manufacturing capabilities. This includes a new state-of-the art surface mount electronics manufacturing facility and new test equipment.