Williams is bringing Formula-e proven, multi-chemical batteries to road cars. The new battery pack technology will allow custom tailoring to manufacturers’ applications for higher energy delivery or greater power density, for a given size and weight.
- Williams Advanced Engineering, a development branch of the Williams Formula 1 Team, has supplied battery packs to Formula-e teams since the inception of the racing series.
- The multi-chem packs are assembled from modules made from different battery types, using an innovative DC/DC bi-directional converter. This means a battery unit can deliver high energy for more powerful EVs, as well as high power-density for longer range.
- First applications will come in electric supercars, but with Williams’ new company, Hyperbat, the goal is to democratize the technology across all categories of electric vehicles.
One of the battery packs developed by Williams for racing applications. This same technology will soon start making its way into electric vehicles for the road. (Photo: Williams Advanced Engineering)
No more compromises
Electric vehicle battery packs are composed of individual cells joined together. Currently, engineers are forced to choose between cells that can deliver higher amounts of energy, which usually means faster acceleration, or greater energy density, which translates into longer driving range. The Williams pack uses cylindrical Samsung cells, which in combination are good for energy density, to feed power to A123 pouch cells, which deliver high-energy performance.
The cells are arranged in scalable blocks and connected by bidirectional DC/DC convertors. By changing the size of the blocks, the pack can be designed for specific applications. For sports car intended mostly for track or performance driving, more pouch cells are used. For sedans meant for cruising, a battery pack would use more cylindrical cells.
The new technology will debut in hypercars, like the forthcoming Lotus Evija, but eventually Williams’ new company, Hyperbat, will deliver packs for more mainstream EVs.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Racing has always been the place where technology innovations push performance, then trickle down to everyday vehicles. With the increased popularity of EV racing, expect more advances to travel from the track to your driveway.