Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), part of the Australian iron ore mining conglomerate Fortescue Metals Group, is to acquire Williams Advanced Engineering. FFI sees WAE’s advanced battery technology as key to the electrification of its mining operations, particularly industrial vehicles including freight trains, 400-ton haul trucks and other heavy equipment.
Fortescue founder and chairman, Dr Andrew Forrest, commented, “This is the race of our lifetimes – the race to save the planet from cooking. The speed at which we move matters. Together FFI and WAE will work to decarbonize Fortescue, with the aim of achieving that faster and more effectively than anyone else in the world.”
Craig Wilson, CEO of WAE, added, “High-performance battery and electrification systems are at the core of what we do at WAE, and this acquisition and investment will enable the company’s further growth to support the delivery of zero emission products and services across existing sectors – such as automotive, motorsport and off-highway – and new sectors too. This will benefit all our stakeholders along with current and future customers who are very important to us. My thanks also to EMK Capital for their support during the past two years, which has enabled us to accelerate the successful progress of WAE and development of technologies to help tackle climate change.”
FFI has been working with WAE since the start of 2021 on the development of a battery system for its electrified mining haul trucks, which rely on technology developed in both Formula 1 and other series such as Formula E and Extreme E. WAE is set to resume its role as battery supplier to the electric single-seater series when its Gen 3 cars are introduced next season, and there was no indication from FFI that the acquisition would impact WAE’s motorsport activities.