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4 November, 2021 - 15:23 By Tony Quested

Johnson Matthey ‘COPs’ share of glory with world-first electric race car

Johnson Matthey and Envision Virgin Racing unveiled the world’s first electric two-seater Formula race car at COP26.

The two-seater showcases new high performance electric vehicle technology slated for commercial production in Europe from 2024.

Johnson Matthey’s eLNO® battery cathode technology delivers up to 20 per cent energy density improvements for greater driving range and faster recharging. Envision Virgin Racing’s electric drivetrain delivers 250kW of power and enables top speed of 240km/h. 

The car was conceived to help accelerate the transition to a net zero future and the advance to clean, sustainable technologies that enable the mass adoption of e-mobility. It was designed and manufactured by Delta Cosworth at Silverstone.

The Envision Virgin Racing development team focused on optimising all aspects of the racer’s design to deliver extraordinary on-track performance. It features a dedicated two-seater carbon-fibre monocoque platform designed and engineered to accommodate the driver and an additional passenger in tandem formation. 

The car will run slick tyres to provide optimal mechanical grip and a low wear rate that minimises tyre waste.

The one-of-a-kind concept racer will demonstrate Johnson Matthey’s eLNO technology. With eLNO cathode technology on board, the cylindrical 602030 cells in the battery pack achieve 200 Wh/kg cell energy density for a total 47kWh capacity and an electrical output of 585 volts. 

The key benefits of the combined technology will directly transfer from the racetrack into battery electric passenger cars, the partners say. Batteries incorporating eLNO will offer electric vehicle drivers greater range, faster recharging and the long-term retention of battery capacity.

“As the very first public application of our eLNO technology, the two-seater race car will provide a stunning next step in bringing our ground-breaking technology to market,” said Christian Gϋnther, battery materials sector chief executive at Johnson Matthey. 

“Not only will the racer generate valuable test data but also we look forward to giving passengers the opportunity to experience the visceral thrill of a high performance electric race car.”

eLNO will be supplied to customers in Europe from two new production facilities. The first, in Poland, is under construction and will be completed in 2022 for commercial production in 2024. A second eLNO plant is planned in Finland. 

These facilities will operate sustainably as part of Johnson Matthey’s commitment to overcoming climate change, circular manufacturing and the responsible sourcing of materials.

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