Hyperdrive Innovation is fast becoming one of the key names in the region’s growing electric vehicle sector, enjoying relationships with automotive giants like Nissan and working on projects around the world.
Deborah Johnson speaks to its managing director, Stephen Irish, to find out more.
Back in the days when electric cars were more the stuff of sci-fi films than something you’d realistically expect to see on the roads, Stephen Irish could already see their potential. More than 20 years ago, while at university, he wrote his thesis on electric and hybrid powered vehicles, and the huge impact they would one day have on the future of transport.
“Back then, the market wasn’t quite ready for my ideas – I’ve had to wait quite a long time to be proved right,” he smiles.
“But electric vehicles have now become commonplace in a variety of sectors and uses, and into the future, I would imagine the majority of cars will be hybrid at least. It’s certainly a fast growing and fast moving industry to be involved in, but there’s no better place than the North East to be part of it.”
Hyperdrive Innovation, the business founded by Stephen and business partner Chris Baylis, is fast becoming a key player in the region’s burgeoning sector. It works internationally on a range of sector-leading initiatives and works closely with Nissan, enjoying a two-way relationship with the motoring giant to bring products to market through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) programme.
The company, founded in Sunderland in 2012, designs and builds lithium ion battery packs for automotive, industrial and marine use, as well as pioneering other complementary aspects including range extenders for electric vehicles, to allow them to run longer between charges. Already it employs more than 20 people, manufactures its products on-site, and crucially is a leading light in research and development (R&D) in the UK and internationally.
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