On June 25th, Constellium announced that it will lead a consortium of automotive manufacturers and suppliers to develop structural aluminum battery enclosures for electric vehicles. The £15 million Aluminium Intensive Vehicle Enclosures (ALIVE) project will be developed in the UK and funded in part by a grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) as a component of its low carbon emissions research program.
“Constellium is delighted to partner with the APC, as well as automakers and suppliers in the UK to design, engineer and prototype a completely new structural aluminium battery enclosure,” said Paul Warton, president of Constellium’s Automotive Structures & Industry business unit. “Taking advantage of Constellium’s high-strength HSA6 extrusion alloys and new manufacturing concepts, we expect these battery enclosures to provide automakers with unparalleled design freedom and modularity to optimize costs as they transition to vehicle electrification.”
Using agile production cells, the new battery enclosure manufacturing system will be designed to adapt to changing production volumes, providing scalability as volumes increase. According to Constellium, as a leading provider of both rolled aluminum and extruded solutions for the global automotive market, they are able to design and produce battery enclosures that provide the strength, crash resistance and weight savings needed in a structural component. The HSA6 alloys that Constellium produces are 20% lighter than conventional alloys and are closed-loop recyclable.
Constellium will design and produce the aluminum extrusions for the project at its University Technology Center (UTC) at Brunel University, London. The UTC opened in 2016 as a dedicated center for developing and testing aluminum extrusions and prototype components at scale.
A new application center will be created in the UK for Constellium and its partners to provide full-scale prototypes to automakers, and to refine production methods for advanced manufacturing. The ALIVE project is scheduled to begin in July and is expected to deliver its first prototypes at the end of 2021.