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Hyperlink and Cllr Mordey

Super-charged growth plan for Sunderland-based battery innovator

Battery technology firm Hyperdrive Innovation is on track to hit £10m-a-year turnover this year, doubling last year’s figure and marking a rapid rise to power since its launch in 2012.

A further two-fold annual turnover increase in the next two years is also expected; potentially taking the firm past the £20m mark by 2020, amid strong global demand for several products.

Hyperdrive, which employs 40 people at its Sunderland HQ, makes battery packs for a wide range of electric vehicles including off-highway vehicles, municipal vehicles and autonomous and industrial machines.

The company has worked with organisations on projects including airport pushback tractors, autonomous passenger shuttles being adopted at major transport hubs, construction machines and delivery vehicles, mobile energy storage and airport ground power at a major European airport.

Its technology is also used in battery energy storage systems – enabling power generated by solar panels, for example, to be stored and used when required.

One of several contributors to its strong performance this year is soaring demand from the manufacturing sector. In September, the company will double production volumes of its factory robotics battery packs in response to growing global demand.

The Asian market is proving particularly fruitful for the company. Earlier this year the firm signed a deal worth around £40m to enable Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxlink Group to produce and sell Hyperdrive’s modular battery pack across Asia. This came after Hyperdrive had secured a global supply agreement to be one of the first companies to incorporate Nissan’s lithium-ion NMC Polymer cells technology into its high-performance battery systems.

The company’s energy storage division is also faring well, with a number of exciting developments in the pipeline. Among them is a collaborative project with one of the UK’s market leaders in smart meter technology.

A residential energy storage trial, connecting solar panels, smart meters and Hyperdrive’s energy storage technology, is currently underway in the UK. Its aim is to enable residents to use solar power generated during the day, in the evening, when energy demand peaks, rather than feeding it back to the national grid for feed-in tariff payments.  

An additional offshoot of this concept has seen Hyperdrive team up with a social housing provider. Solar power storage could provide free energy to social housing residents and dramatically reduce their electricity bills, the company believes.

Hyperdrive’s growth has been supported by Sunderland City Council. The authority helped the company to secure its base in the Future Technology Centre near Nissan’s Sunderland plant. It has also assisted in organising overseas trade missions and in generating and protecting its intellectual property.

Cllr Michael Mordey, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, says: “Hyperdrive is a shining example of Sunderland’s world class status in automotive, advanced manufacturing and knowledge economy. Its ongoing success will bring new opportunities and highly skilled jobs here, while solving the world’s energy and environmental challenges. We will continue to support this exciting company as its global presence grows.” 

With its global presence growing, Hyperdrive has appointed a new chief technology officer (CTO) to help to facilitate its ongoing expansion.

Dr Dave Sandells, previously employed by Dyson, Williams F1, GKN and electric vehicles firm Sevcon, has substantial engineering experience and expert knowledge in power electronics, electric vehicles and electrification technologies.

Commercial managing director Stephen Irish says: “Since we launched six years ago, we have put a lot of effort into developing our new products and getting the production facility up to speed. We are now at the scaling up stage, where we are primarily selling the products and helping customers to adopt them into their own products. The rate of growth we are expecting is, therefore, quite substantial.

“Of course, we still have a considerable research and development programme. The key driver here is to continue to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the battery technology. There are lots of markets we have been involved in that will be increasingly electrified over the next few years so a lot of our work will be helping customers to electrify their products.”

For more on Hyperdrive Innovation visit www.hyperdriveinnovation.com. To find out more about investing in Sunderland go to www.makeitsunderland.com