BLYTH, England: Britishvolt said Friday it will develop batteries for an all-electric sports car in partnership with British carmaker Lotus, the first publicly announced customer for electric vehicle (EV) startup.
Britishvolt said the research and development that will go into developing battery cells for a high-performance sports car for Lotus will eventually trickle down to battery cells for more affordable, mainstream EVs.
Lotus, which is owned by China’s Geely and Malaysian Etika Automotive, has said it will only sell all-electric models by 2028.
The automaker will also expand its range to include premium electric sedans and sport-utility vehicles.
“Lotus is delighted to be working with Britishvolt to develop new battery cell technology to demonstrate the exciting performance a Lotus EV sports car can deliver,” Lotus CEO Matt Windle said in a statement.
Automakers are racing to develop electric vehicles ahead of looming fossil fuel bans in Europe and China.
That presents a challenge for sports cars and supercars, which require a lot of sustained power without a lot of extra battery weight.
“Lotus is a performance brand with an ambitious plan,” Britishvolt executive chairman Peter Rolton told Reuters during a visit to the construction site for Britishvolt’s planned battery factory in the northern English town of Blyth, a large former coal storage depot overlooking the North Sea .
“For that to work, they have to have performance to match the vehicle and you can’t get that from a standard battery.”
Rolton said Lotus was the first in a number of customer announcements Britishvolt would make in the coming weeks, including for high-performance vehicles, mainstream EVs and electric commercial vehicles that require long-lasting, long-lasting batteries.
Last week Britishvolt received support from the British government for its Blyth factory, freeing 1.7 billion pounds ($2.28 billion) in private financing from logistics real estate investor Tritax and investment firm abrdn plc.
When fully operational in 2027, the £3.8 billion, 45 gigawatt-hour (GWh) plant should be able to produce battery packs for more than 450,000 EVs per year.
($1 = 0.7450 pounds)
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