South East finalist - Jack Aspinall

Jack graduated from the University of Oxford in 2019 with a Meng in Materials Science. His final undergraduate year was spent under professor Jason Smith investigating nanodiamond based photonics, leading to a publication in Optical Materials Express. Jack is now pursuing a DPhil in the Oxford Department of Materials, under professor Mauro Pasta, funded by The Faraday Institution and UKRI into next generation lithium batteries. The project focuses on investigating lithium metal anodes, to replace the incumbent graphite anodes. Alongside his research, Jack enjoys endurance sport. He’s ran two marathons and multiple half marathons and is currently training for an Ironman triathlon.

The advent of the electric car

Road transport accounts for a fifth of the UK's CO2 emissions and contributes significantly to air pollution. The switch from internal combustion to electric cars is therefore crucial to reduce our environmental impact.

Tesla, a company only founded in 2003, has revolutionised the global outlook on electric cars. It used to be widely agreed that the range, performance and cost were all intrinsically far worse than combustion engine cars. Today, this is not the case. Cost and range are progressing toward that of traditional cars, and both their performance and efficiency are greater. This change is reflected in UK legislation that requires all new cars sold from 2035 to be electric vehicles. The rapid speed of change sparks many questions: How have electric cars achieved this success? Why are electric cars all so powerful? What’s inside an electric car? What technical progress do we need to hit the 2035 goal?

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