Oxis battery technology powers driverless vehicle in London’s GATEway project

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Oxis Energy will provide batteries for the GATEway driverless vehicle project, taking place in London’s Greenwich. The project, one of four national trials recently announced by the UK government, will feature a Meridian-Navya shuttle vehicle – a fully automated, all-electric vehicle provided by Phoenix Wings. To power the vehicle, Oxis Energy has provided a 22kWh battery, designed as 2 identical modules, which are configured as a Master and Slave unit, so that they can be installed at separate locations within the vehicle. Each battery is controlled by a sophisticated battery management system that can communicate with external systems via CAN bus link. The LEV battery is based on Oxis Energy’s lithium-sulfur (Li-S) technology, and offers a high gravimetric energy density – resulting in an extremely lightweight battery. Compared to other lithium-based chemistries, Oxis cells are very robust and have excellent levels of safety when subjected to abuses such as over-discharge, over-charge and high temperatures.

The active ingredients of the Li-S cells are sulfur – a recycled waste product from the oil industry – and lithium. Unlike lithium-ion technology, Oxis Energy cells do not contain manganese, lead or other harmful metals.

In 2014, Oxis developed its largest cell capacity – the world’s first 25Ah cell. The company is on target to increase that cell capacity to 33Ah by the middle of this year. The energy density demonstrated by current Oxis cells is in excess of 300Wh/kg – outperforming lithium-ion technology, which has dominated the performance battery market for many years. Oxis science teams expect to achieve a goal of an energy density in excess of 400Wh/kg by the end of 2016, and in excess of 500Wh/kg by the end of 2018.

“We are delighted to be involved in this project. It is very rewarding to see the fruits of the research and advancements we’ve achieved in our science labs being displayed in this way,” says Oxis Energy CEO Huw Hampson Jones. “We will continue to enhance our battery performance and intend to remain at the forefront of the world’s leading battery technology so that automated transportation will become very much part of our daily lives. Over time, this will eliminate the need for the petrol engine.”

The Meridian-Navya is an example of the world’s first commercially available driverless shuttle vehicle, and will be used in trials to investigate how this innovative vehicle can support urban mobility, integrate with other transport modes, and to give an insight into how the public respond to driverless travel.

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine + Powertrain of the Year Awards.

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