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Business & Economy

Hyperdrive Innovation opens Sunderland HYVE plant to meet global demand

A lithium-ion battery technology designer has opened a North East manufacturing plant it says will create jobs and help the company to meet growing industry demand.

Hyperdrive Innovation has founded HYVE in Sunderland.

The company, which makes battery packs for electric vehicles and energy storage systems, says the base is the UK’s largest independent manufacturing facility of its type outside major original equipment manufacturers.

They added it will allow the TechTrack100 firm to produce up to 30,000 battery packs annually and cater for increasing international demand, revealing it will also accelerate new product development and technology pipelines.

Chris Pennison, Hyperdrive chief executive, said: “We’re working with some of the most forward-thinking and innovative organisations in the world as their trusted electrification and energy storage partner.

“HYVE enables us to deliver a high-quality product, providing our customers with the right energy at the right time.”

High-profile customers set to benefit from HYVE include JCB, with whom Hyperdrive has just signed a supply agreement to power its first electric excavator. The machine is now in production at JCB’s Staffordshire site.

Bob Womersley, director, advanced engineering at JCB, said: “We are leading the way in clean technology and reducing harmful emissions, especially in urban, air quality sensitive environments and enclosed spaces.

“Using batteries from Hyperdrive Innovation, the new 19C-1E is the industry’s first fully electric mini excavator.”

Hyperdrive moved to the Future Technology Centre (FTC) in Washington, Wearside, in 2014, and Sunderland City Council has since provided significant support in generating and protecting Hyperdrive’s intellectual property.

The council’s advice and support also enabled Hyperdrive to secure the 21,000sq ft HYVE facility at the FTC.

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “Hyperdrive is a terrific example of Sunderland’s world-class status in automotive, advanced manufacturing and knowledge economy.

“It’s phenomenal growth and global success will bring new opportunities and highly-skilled jobs to the city and help to solve urgent energy and environmental challenges worldwide.

“We’re delighted to work alongside Hyperdrive as it grows.”

Support from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) played an integral role in the early stages of Hyperdrive’s seven-year history. The High Energy Density Battery Project, in partnership with Nissan and funded by a £9.7 million APC grant, enabled Hyperdrive’s latest battery technology to be brought to market.

Further catalysing its global growth, Hyperdrive last year completed a major £40 million deal with Taiwanese manufacturer Foxlink Group. The deal means Foxlink can use Hyperdrive’s intellectual property to produce and sell its modular battery pack across Asia.

Hyperdrive has also invested £50,000 in a software system to help with manufacturing planning decisions and enable efficient stock control.

Last year, the company was the only North East firm to be named in the TechTrack100, which ranks the UK’s fastest-growing independent technology firms. In June this year it won the Automotive Award at the Made in the UK national finals.