Ford wins the Award for Automotive Innovation 2013


Hailed as the future of engine technology and designed, developed and engineered in Essex, Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine – found under the bonnet of more than 100,000 cars across the UK – has been crowned winner of the SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation 2013.

The efficient 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine, which uses a power-boosting turbocharger to deliver performance to beat that of a more conventional 1.6-litre unit, started life at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex. It fought off tough competition from across the dynamic UK automotive industry to win the prestigious accolade.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive and one of the Award judges, said, “The UK is a hotbed for global automotive engineering talent, a fact proved by the winning Ford entry being designed and developed at its Essex R&D centre and achieving global recognition.

“The outstanding calibre of the entrants to this year’s Award is testament to the wealth of design and engineering talent here in the UK. SMMT is working hard with its members and government to ensure the UK maintains and develops its reputation at the forefront of automotive innovation.”

Oxfordshire-based YASA Motors won the ‘highly commended’ accolade for its compact but powerful YASA-400 electric motor, which was a major feature in the Jaguar C-X75 supercar prototype.

The SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation – sponsored by GKN and supported by The Times – recognises the best of the UK’s flair for world-class design, R&D and engineering with previous winners including bus manufacturer Optare, as well as Jaguar Land Rover and Gordon Murray Design.

Remarkably, the Ford 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine is no bigger than a sheet of A4 paper, but delivers 123bhp, achieves 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of just 99g/km – around 20% better than more traditional motors. As well as powering the Formula Ford concept car, the engine is currently available in the firm’s Fiesta, Focus, B-MAX, C-MAX, Tourneo Connect and Transit Connect models, and will also feature in both the forthcoming EcoSport SUV and the next generation Mondeo in 2014.

The Award was presented to Ford’s Director of Global Vehicle Evaluation and Verification, Graham Hoare, by Nigel Stein, Chief Executive at GKN Driveline, at the 2013 SMMT Annual Dinner on 26 November. Commenting on the win, Mr Hoare said, “On behalf of the 1,000-plus highly-skilled Ford powertrain engineers involved in the 1.0-litre EcoBoost programme, we’re all delighted with this prestigious recognition.

“In 2007, the engineering teams at Dunton and Dagenham took on the challenge to produce a cutting-edge three-cylinder petrol engine – exciting, durable and efficient enough for both cars and commercial vehicles.  Six years on, and with over 300,000 global sales, two back-to-back International Engine of the Year titles, and now this major innovation award, we couldn’t be more proud.”

Nigel Stein, Chief Executive, GKN, said, “The efficiency and environmental performance of internal combustion engines has improved dramatically in recent years, and I am delighted that the panel has recognised Ford’s achievements in this area. This also signals the important role the UK automotive sector can play in developing future technology. Congratulations to everyone involved in this truly innovative project.”

The Award judging panel featured industry and engineering leaders: Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT; Dave Salt, Chief Engineer, GKN Driveline; Robert Lea, Industrial Editor, The Times; Jim Higginbotham, Managing Director, Large Corporate and Special Asset Finance, Lombard and John Laughlin, Programme Manager – Low Carbon Vehicles, Technology Strategy Board.

SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation: the shortlist

SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation 2013 shortlisted entries:

  • Ford Motor Company Limited: 1.0 Ecoboost engine
    Big-engine performance and 65mpg, all from a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder powerplant.
  • McLaren Automotive: McLaren P1
    The most advanced combination of motorsport technologies ever brought together on a road car.
  • Productiv Ltd and Tata Steel: The Proving Factory
    A pioneering manufacturing initiative to bridge the ‘Valley of Death’ between R&D and production.
  • We Predict: Indico
    A new, comprehensive application of warranty analytics forecasting software.
  • YASA Motors: YASA-400
    A lightweight but powerful electric motor, already featured in the Jaguar C-X75 supercar concept.
  • Zircotec Ltd: Zircotec Thermohold
    An all-new approach to thermal coating technology – protecting carbon composite components from heat damage.


SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation: the judges

A panel of leading industry experts will judge the Award for Automotive Innovation 2013. The panel includes:

Mike Hawes, Chief Executive, SMMT

Mike Hawes became SMMT Chief Executive on 2 September 2013. He has more than 20 years’ experience in policy and public affairs, the majority of which have been spent in the motor industry. He joined SMMT from Bentley Motors where he held a number of PR, corporate and public affairs roles. Prior to that, he worked for both Toyota and, more recently, Bentley’s parent company, Volkswagen AG, where he developed the European and global knowledge needed for this challenging role.

Mike says, “The outstanding quality of this year’s Award entries clearly reflects the wealth of design, R&D and engineering talent that we have in the UK automotive sector. Diversity is one of the UK’s strengths and I am pleased to see so many different areas of the sector represented on the shortlist. I look forward to judging the Award.”

Dave Salt, Chief Engineer, GKN Driveline

Dave has more than 40 years of experience within automotive engineering and specialises in vehicle design, development and application. He is Chief Engineer and Engineering Site Manager at GKN Driveline, a UK-based global engineering company. The business employs 22,000 people at 56 locations in 22 countries, working in partnership with vehicle manufacturers. This is the fourth year that Dave has participated in the judging of the Award.

Dave says, “The UK automotive industry is one of the most diverse and dynamic in the world, but its capabilities in the fields of engineering, design and innovation are not always fully recognised to the extent they should be. SMMT’s Award is a great way to highlight these strengths across industry and, as a leading automotive manufacturing supplier, GKN Driveline is proud to be a part of the judging panel.”

John Laughlin, Programme Manager – Low Carbon Vehicles, Technology Strategy Board

John began his career in the automotive industry in 2000 with Visteon where he held a number of engineering positions. These included both resident and senior engineer roles, before taking on the position as Programme Manager for Visteon powertrain and interior products in Europe for the Toyota account, and powertrain development contracts with Honda. In 2007, he joined Transport for London, his brief being to deliver part of the Olympic transport strategy. In 2009, John was appointed Programme Manager for Low Carbon Vehicles at the Technology Strategy Board. The £250m Integrated Delivery Programme, which he manages, has initiated over 100 projects to stimulate growth in the UK auto sector, specifically focussed on vehicles and systems resulting in reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

John says, “The SMMT’s Award is a perfect snapshot of the types of technologies that are being developed in the UK. We have a formidable automotive heritage and seeing some of the new innovative technologies that are being developed provide confidence that the UK has the potential to make a huge impact on the global market.”

Jim Higginbotham, Managing Director – Large Corporate and Specialist Asset Finance, Lombard

AAI_J Higginbotham_b&w2Jim Higginbotham is Managing Director of Lombard’s Large Corporate and Specialist Asset Finance (LCSAF) division. In this role, Jim is responsible for a diverse range of specialist businesses from vehicle stocking and short-term car hire through to technology services, renewable energy, and aviation and marine. The team also focus on meeting the asset finance needs of the FTSE 250 in partnership with Lombard’s parent, The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. As a business leader with more than 20 years’ experience within the financial services industry and specific functional expertise in risk, Jim brings key knowledge to a sector that can have complex funding requirements. He also has a clear understanding of the importance of balancing commercial ambition with a risk based approach to achieving a strong return on investment.

Jim says, “I’m really looking forward to being part of an awards programme that recognises the innovation that this sector is synonymous with. There are some really great things happening within the UK’s automotive sector that we can all be very proud of and I believe that the SMMT is a strong player in promoting this. It is important that we encourage players in this sector to continue to innovate, to continue to develop cutting-edge products and technology, to continue to come up with ideas that positively change the way the sector operates, so as to ensure that we support the UK in its recovery to full strength.”

Robert Lea, Industrial Editor, The Times

Robert has been a business journalist for more than 20 years and at The Times covers the automotive, transportation, engineering and manufacturing industries as well as industrial relations and business policy.



A representative from Lombard, the UK’s largest asset finance provider, will also join the judging panel and details will be confirmed shortly.

SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation: previous years

The 2012 winner

Beating off strong competition from across the car, component and intelligent mobility sectors, the Optare Versa EV scooped SMMT’s annual award, which highlights the importance of R&D and innovation in the industry.

Developed from the 27-seater Optare Solo EV that was launched in 2010, the Versa EV is the UK’s first fully operational, full-sized, battery-powered electric bus. Designed and engineered at Optare’s exclusive UK facility in North Yorkshire, the Versa EV boasts impressive environmental credentials with zero tailpipe emissions and reduced noise and is capable of carrying around 50 passengers.

Glenn Saint, Deputy CEO of Optare plc, “Winning the SMMT Innovation Award was a major boost to our efforts to make electric buses an integral part of the UK transport infrastructure. It significantly raised awareness amongst key audiences leading to an increase in enquiries, both from domestic and international markets, and has confirmed our status as the UK’s leader in the field of low carbon buses.”

The shortlisted entries in SMMT’s 2012 Award for Automotive Innovation included:

  • ABB Ltd - ABB Terra Smart Connect Duo
  • Jaguar Land Rover, Infiniti brand of Nissan Motor Company, Lotus Cars – REEVolution
  • Squarell Technology – Driver Awareness Panel
  • Vocis Ltd – eDCT Compact Seamless-Shift Clutch-Less Transmission for Electric Vehicles
  • Williams Hybrid Power Ltd – WHP MLC Electromechanical Flywheel

The 2011 winner

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) won SMMT’s 2011 Award for Automotive Innovation for its prototype Range_e – the world’s first luxury Plug-in Hybrid Electric 4×4 with integrated V6 diesel engine.

The award, sponsored by GKN Driveline, was presented to JLR’s Chief Engineer, Hybrids, Peter Richings at SMMT’s Annual Dinner by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Norman Baker and Rob Rickell, Global Engineering Director, GKN.

The Range_e beat off stiff competition from companies across the car, commercial vehicle and supply chain sectors to win SMMT’s second annual award designed to showcase the importance of R&D and the role the UK plays in developing global automotive products.

The 2010 winner

Gordon Murray Design’s revolutionary iStream manufacturing process was the winner of SMMT’s Award for Automotive Innovation in 2010.

Click on the play button to watch Gordon Murray, CEO and Technical Director, talk about the company’s entry to the 2010 Award.

Gordon Murray said, “Awards like the Award for Automotive Innovation are really important for small start-up companies like ours. There are established innovators in the UK that get a lot of press coverage, but it’s always helpful to get recognition, especially when you are trying to do something which is not conventional, in order to gain people’s attention.”

Judged by a panel of industry experts, including Dr George Gillespie, Chief Executive Officer, MIRA, and Joe Greenwell, Chairman, Ford of Britain, Gordon Murray Design was announced as the winner of the 2010 Award at SMMT’s 94th Annual Dinner.

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