International EV Batteries 2023…Q&A with Daniel Fung, Advanced Propulsion Centre UK



International EV Batteries conference, 7-8 November 2023, Aston Villa Football Club, Birmingham
International EV Batteries conference, 7-8 November 2023, Aston Villa Football Club, Birmingham


Ahead of our eighth annual International EV Batteries conference, we caught up with Daniel Fung, Head of Strategy and Performance at Advanced Propulsion Centre UK.

Daniel discusses his role and involvement with regards to EV batteries, industry challenges, what he is looking forward to at the event and why it is important for engineers to attend.

Q: Could you briefly explain your role, involvement, and experience with regards to electric vehicles?

Daniel Fung (DF): I look after the strategy at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, an organisation that’s helping the automotive industry ready itself for net-zero. We fund technology R&D, support capital projects, and develop insights that help shape the industry. My role involves looking at the future challenges in the industry and working with government and industry stakeholders to develop the best interventions to develop and industrialise new technologies in the UK.

Q: What are the main challenges facing your industry at present?

DF: The automotive industry has shifted dramatically, exchanging over a century of innovation in fossil-fuelled internal combustion engines for alternative fuelled technologies. Electrified vehicles are being built at scale today and new automotive supply chains are being established around the world for their batteries, motors, power electronics and their raw materials. Investment is needed to industrialise these new technologies and continued R&D must be done to improve product lifecycles, performance, and accessibility of this technology.

International competition is fierce to attract and anchor these new supply chains and the UK has to demonstrate that it is an attractive place to continue to invest in. Skills to develop net-zero vehicles are critical and we must continue to grow our talent base in the UK to continue to be at the forefront of EV development.

Q: How would you say the industry has evolved over the past five years?

DF: When I joined the APC five years ago, there was uncertainty about how quickly vehicles would transition away from fossil fuels. There has been a rapid acceleration of the adoption of battery electric vehicles, with government mandates pulling forward the end of new fossil fuelled ICE sales. It is expected that the majority of light duty private and commercial transport is heading towards battery electric in Western Europe. Heavy duty vehicles (on- and off-road) still have multiple pathways that need to develop.

Across all areas of new automotive technology, sustainability is playing an increasingly important role. Much more consideration is being given to the life cycle impact of the vehicle’s supply chain and energy sources than has been seen previously.

Q: What developments are going on that may have an impact on the development of future electric vehicles and battery technologies?

DF: As electric vehicle adoption grows, innovation is needed to maximise efficiency of energy, raw material use, and utility of the vehicles. There could be breakthrough technologies such as solid-state batteries, that rapidly increase energy density, charging rates and lifespans.

Battery chemistries will be optimised to meet the specific needs of the customer’s vehicle, be it a small city car, supermarket delivery vehicle, or articulated truck. Connected and autonomous vehicles will bring opportunities to develop new vehicle types not possible today, with new business models driving different innovation.

Q: What will you be presenting at the conference and how will this benefit participants?

DF: I will be presenting a recent APC study of the net-zero opportunities battery electric vehicles bring. Over the last few decades, the automotive sector has worked to understand the vehicle emissions at the tailpipe, we can move the sector forward towards a plan for recycling, repurposing, and re-use of battery materials within electric vehicles. Great innovation is happening in the UK today on battery recycling and developing this further brings both environmental and economic benefits to the UK.

Q: Why is it important for engineers to join this year’s International EV Batteries conference?

DF: The UK has great strength in developing new technologies that address the challenges of net-zero. Key to our success to date in automotive has been the collaboration and co-development of new ideas that turn into impactful products. Sharing information at events such as the International EV Batteries conference is key to sparking this innovation.

This year’s International EV Batteries conference will be taking place on 7-8 November 2023 at Aston Villa Football Club, Birmingham. To book your place, please visit www.imeche.org/evbatteries.

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