Automotive News September 2018

Automotive News September 2018

What has been described as the UK’s “largest independent vehicle battery manufacturer” will reportedly open in early 2019 in Coventry, creating around 90 new jobs with Aston Martin as its first customer. The multi-million-pound, high-tech facility will be operated by a new joint venture – Hyperbat, which combines the innovation, manufacturing and logistics strengths of Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart Manufacturing Group.

Alongside providing a secure future supply chain for UK-based car-makers as their vehicles transition to electric power, there is also the potential to provide similar solutions to developing future marine and aircraft projects. Unipart will be converting its century-old building on Beresford Avenue, Coventry, which most recently produced vehicle exhausts, to house Hyperbat’s production line.

Following construction, Hyperbat is expected to begin production in early 2019 on batteries for the Aston Martin Rapide E, which will be a limited production run. The joint venture was reportedly inspired by H1PERBAT – an Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC)-funded, Williams Advanced engineering-led consortium of organisations, set up in 2017, which also includes Unipart, Coventry University, Aston Martin and others.

It was established to build a high-performance, low-volume, flexible battery capability in the UK. The joint venture will also draw on work undertaken by H1 PERBAT, which also looked at second life options for car batteries, enabling a long-term sustainable future for the products in both the vehicles and beyond.

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Aston Martin is to announce a string of boardroom appointments in early to mid-September, as it sets its sights on a place in the FTSE 100 once it floats on the stock market this year. The luxury carmaker will announce its formal intention to float, as well as the appointment of a chairman and several non-executive directors. The group is seeking a valuation of £5bn, which would put it in contention to enter the FTSE lOO at the next reshuffle. London’s blue-chip index, securing a place in the index would cement the dramatic turnaround of the business, which has been bankrupt seven times in its history, but has returned to profit and crafted a new strategy under the leadership of former Nissan executive Andy Palmer.

Profits in the first six months rose to a record £20.8m, while revenues climbed 8% to £449.9m. Bankers for Aston believe the combination of rising volumes in the coming years, as well as the launch of high margin models such as a forthcoming utility vehicle; will help the group    achieve a valuation similar to Ferrari’s.

 

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