Brighton student wins award for designing revolutionary car battery

Josh De Wit, with James May and Richard Hammond SUS-160812-102303001
Josh De Wit, with James May and Richard Hammond SUS-160812-102303001

A student at Sussex University has been recognised for designing a revolutionary fast-charging electric car battery, writes Sarah George.

Mechanical engineering student Josh De Wit won the 2016 Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award for his concept, which could dramatically cut charging times and make electric cars more accessible.

Josh said he has always had a keen interest in renewable energy and dreams of someday starting his own energy storage company.

“I’ve always been creative and I love to problem solve,” he said, “deep down at the bottom of my heart I’ve always wanted to do something different.”

Electric car batteries are typically heavy, expensive, and take a long time to charge.

Josh came up with the idea of making batteries from stacked graphene – a material which mobile phone manufacturers are beginning to use in their batteries.

Graphene is light, strong and conductive as it is made up of carbon sheets which are just an atom thick.

The 21-year-old is set to undertake a six-month work experience tour of some of the biggest names in the motor industry including Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, Nissan, Peugeot and Toyota next spring.

Steve Cropley, editor-in-chief for Autocar, said: “If this award is anything to go by, the future is certainly bright for the automotive industry.”