Could a student revolutionise EV batteries?

A student at the University of Sussex will embark on a six-month work experience tour of Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Nissan, Peugeot and Toyota after receiving the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award for 2016.

Joshua de Wit, a second-year mechanical engineering student, won the award for coming up with a design that could significantly reduce charging times for batteries in electric vehicles (EVs). His design focuses on stacking graphene batteries to improve sustainability by harnessing the conductivity, lightness and strength of graphene.

Meanwhile the flexibility of the material means far less can be used for the optimal balance of cost, strength, weight, storage capacity and size.

Joshua, 21, said, ‘It is a privilege to be presented with the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award. From the outset, this has been a challenging but rewarding experience and the mentoring programme has really helped me to develop my idea and push myself further.

‘I’m now excited at the prospect of working with some of the world’s most renowned vehicle manufacturers, experience which I’ve no doubt will stand me in excellent stead for carving out a career after university.’

The other two finalists were Joel Hayes, of Northumbria University, who presented an autonomous vehicle promotion campaign called ‘Be Driven’, and Manuel Agustin Yepez Corsetti, from the University of Glasgow, who created a concept that harvests waste energy with thermoelectric materials.

Martin Bohling, ‎global managing partner at Courland Automotive, said, ‘It is truly a delight and honour to be involved in this award and to have the opportunity to meet such capable, passionate and extraordinary young talent. We will indeed be fortunate to have any one of the finalists pursue a career in the automotive industry.’