Amsterdam rolled and extruded aluminium leader Constellium N.V. announced yesterday that it will head a £15-million project with a consortium of automakers and suppliers to build aluminium battery enclosures for electric vehicles.
The project, christened Aluminium Intensive Vehicle Enclosures (ALIVE) will be carried out in the United Kingdom as a research project partially funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). ALIVE is a part of the APC’s low-carbon emissions research program.
Paul Warton, President of Constellium’s Automotive Structures & Industry business unit, elaborated upon the project in a press release on the subject.
“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. 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.”
Constellium says the new battery enclosure manufacturing system will start out with changes in production volume in mind, as it will be designed to scale up output as necessary. The firm says it is uniquely qualified to build aluminium battery enclosures, as its proprietary HSA6 aluminium alloy are one-fifth lighter than comparable alloys as well as being part of an aluminium closed-loop system.
Design and production of the necessary aluminium alloy will take place at its University Technological Center (UTC) at London’s Brunel University. Meanwhile, the project will establish a new application center in the United Kingdom for the project to produce full-scale prototypes and improve production methods. Constellium estimates production of the first prototypes from the ALIVE program to emerge by the end of next year.
Constellium, based in Amsterdam, was founded 1855 as Henri Merle et Compagnie and subsequently renamed Pechiney in 1950. Pechiney was purchased by Alcan in 2003, which was purchased by Rio Tinto in 2007. In 2011 Rio Tinto sold Alcan Engineered Products to Apollo Management (51%) and FSI (10%). Constellium produces rolled and extruded aluminium products from various alloys, bringing in €5.9 billion of revenue in 2019.