In a significant move towards eco-friendly transportation, Hydro, a notable aluminium manufacturer, has partnered with the UK-based electric vehicle startup, Watt Electric Vehicle Company (WEVC). Announced on Wednesday, this collaboration aims to incorporate recycled and low-carbon aluminium in the production of commercial electric vans, marking a stride in achieving the climate goals set by WEVC for its potential customers.
Hydro’s low-carbon aluminium, distinguished by its production using renewable energy, boasts a remarkably low CO2 footprint of 4.0 kg per metric ton. This figure is notably lower than the global average of 16.7kg. Furthermore, Hydro and WEVC are set to evaluate the incorporation of recycled aluminium in their manufacturing processes.
This initiative is expected to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of WEVC’s eCV1 electric van, potentially by 50%. Notably, the plan also includes returning the aluminium to Hydro once the vehicle reaches the end of its lifecycle.
Paul Warton, Executive Vice President of Hydro Extrusions, emphasized the significance of this advancement.
“Cutting the embedded carbon footprint of an electric light commercial vehicle in half is a huge step forward for more responsible manufacturing.”
WEVC, based in Cornwall, southwest England, has been proactive in designing a lightweight electric van using aluminium and composite materials. CEO Neil Yates outlined the company’s progress, mentioning the development of a prototype and plans to construct a small fleet of test vehicles for potential customers in 2024. He further indicated that series production is expected to commence towards the end of 2025.
Yates highlighted WEVC’s commitment to sustainability, aiming for entirely-recyclable vans with a lifespan of 20 years.
“What makes this so attractive to the fleet buyers that we’re engaged with now is this concept of longevity, recyclability and lower carbon.”
In contrast to several EV startups that raised substantial funds from investors and subsequently faced challenges, WEVC has maintained a more modest financial approach. According to Yates, the company has raised “single-digit millions of pounds” from investors and is planning a new funding round in 2024 to secure “double-digit millions.”
Looking ahead, Yates revealed WEVC’s plans to invest in a small UK manufacturing facility with an annual production capacity of 5,000 vans. With an eye on profitability from 2026 onwards, this partnership between Hydro and WEVC represents a forward-thinking approach to vehicle manufacturing, aligning with the broader goals of environmental sustainability and reduced carbon emissions.