A Sussex student has won an award for his electric car battery design

He could change the face of electric cars forever

A mechanical engineering second-year has been awarded for designing a revolutionary fast-charging electric car battery.

Josh De Wit, 21, 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.

He said: “I’ve always been creative and I love to problem solve. 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. This could be putting a lot of people off the idea of switching from a petrol or diesel motor.

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.

As part of winning the awad, Josh 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.

He is also working with the Sussex Innovation Centre, to develop a prototype and get his battery on the market.

He said: “Everything has a cost to it. Something which is groundbreaking usually has to start out with small turnovers and high costs, but hopefully it’ll become high turnover and low cost quickly.”

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.”