April 10, 2019 8:12 am
Updated: April 10, 2019 12:56 pm

Western University partners with Chinese company to research alternative batteries for electric vehicles

Mayor Ed Holder (second from left) and Western University President Amit Chakma stand with officials from the China Automotive Battery Research Institute Co. Ltd.

Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL

Western University is partnering with Chinese researchers to advance batteries for electric vehicles.

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Senior leaders and researchers from Western, along with London Mayor Ed Holder, were joined by officials from the China Automotive Battery Research Institute Co. Ltd. on Wednesday morning to mark the official opening of Glabat Solid-State Battery Inc.

According to officials, the partnership aims to strengthen research into solid-state batteries — a possible alternative to the conventional lithium-ion battery.

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The collaboration drew praise from Holder, who told 980 CFPL that it represents a significant investment in the technology of the future.

“When you imagine how the large automobile companies are in the process of retooling… I think we’re at the forefront here at Western as a result of this announcement,” Holder said, adding that the announcement brought him back to his days as the minister of science and technology under the Stephen Harper government in 2014.

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The research initiative was also applauded by Kapil Lakhotia, president of the London Economic Development Corporation, who noted the many applications for battery use that extend far beyond electric vehicles.

“Battery research is one of those things that’s going on throughout world… it’s a bit of a race,” Lakhotia said.

“This research partnership will help ensure that London and Western play a role towards furthering that kind of development.”

Solid-state batteries promise to provide longer drives, increased safety and a longer overall battery life cycle.

Andrew Graham / 980 CFPL

Professor Andy Sun, a Canada Research Chair at Western, describes solid-state batteries as “next-generation batteries”.

“Safer and longer driving range. It’s fast-charging and [will] also be low-price in the future,” Sun said.

The research initiative is the latest project in an ongoing partnership between Western University and the China Automotive Battery Research Institute Co. Ltd.

Since 2017, the pair have shared a research laboratory, along with a research park that was opened in 2018.

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– With files from Andrew Graham

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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