SMMT Foresight Vehicle – supporting R&D in the CV sector

05 April 2005 #SMMT News

SMMT Foresight Vehicle is the cornerstone for R&D projects in the CV sector. That was the message delivered today by project director Dr Nick Barter on the eve of the Commercial Vehicle Show at Birmingham’s NEC.

During his press briefing, Dr Barter emphasised how Foresight Vehicle had won funding for many CV-related projects, creating the launch platform for the vehicles and technologies of tomorrow.

‘It is important that we emphasise that SMMT Foresight Vehicle is not just about initiatives focused on the car’, commented Dr Barter at the briefing. ‘The latest technology roadmap identifies R&D focus for the future and projects relating to the commercial vehicle sector are a key part of the jigsaw.’

Dr Barter went on to highlight three projects:


SMMT Foresight Vehicle won funding for Roadlite, a project to create a prototype, lightweight semi-trailer, in 2001.

Manufactured from hi-tech polymer composites, the prototype offers users a larger payload than a comparable trailer with a steel chassis, demonstrating its potential for productivity gains. In use, it could also lead to fewer HGV journeys, as well as gains in fuel efficiency and reduction in CO2 emissions.

Since completion of the three-year project, Gerry Boyce, managing director of Euro-Projects (LTTC) Ltd and Roadlite project manager, has been working to identify partners to take the prototype to market. He commented, ‘We have had interest from a number of companies across Europe, but our focus now is UK haulage firms. We have a very simple message for the industry: this trailer will save you money.’

MIHPOW (Mild Hybrid HGV Powertrain)

A 7.5 tonne delivery truck spends much of its life in congested areas with its engine operating inefficiently, contributing to urban air pollution. The MIHPOW project has developed a prototype diesel/electric hybrid to help address these concerns.

Michael Lampérth of Imperial College and MIHPOW project manager explained, ‘The concept is low cost and straightforward: complement a traditional diesel unit with an electric motor, cutting engine use when it is least efficient and most polluting, for example when idling or during low speed acceleration.

‘Hybrids are not revolutionary but our approach is new. We have used an axial flux motor generator fitted between the engine and gearbox because it offers many real world advantages. It is better suited to the space available, delivers higher torque and is a lower cost to fit. The potential benefits for urban air quality are vast.’


UK online sales are expected to increase to £18 bn by 2009. Part funded under the Foresight Vehicle initiative, e-Flex is working to maximise the efficiency of urban home deliveries. The project includes a number of elements:

Minimised ‘wheels on road’ through electronic technology and streamlined logistics.

Development of efficient loading methods and effective insulation/refrigeration.

Providing government and industry with a strategic understanding of the commercial and environmental effects of alternative fulfilment models.

Commenting on developments to date, project manager Dennis Lynch of John Lewis said, ‘There are many different strands to this project but partners are already making good progress. Strategic modelling has identified overlap in home delivery, so e-Stop has been developed to create a single delivery point for collection of all types of goods by customers.

‘Our partners have also developed a dry-ice refrigeration vehicle that keeps fresh produce cool but does not draw power from the engine. This will help address issues of product quality, while cutting emissions and poor fuel consumption’, he added.

For more information and details of partners involved in these and other projects, visit the Foresight Vehicle web site at

Filter News

Update Newsletter