UK automotive attracts £56 million funding to drive low carbon R&D

24 July 2012 #SMMT News

UK vehicle manufacturers, and firms across the entire automotive supply chain, have successfully secured £56 million to fund the development of low and ultra-low carbon technologies that will keep industry at the forefront of the global low carbon agenda.

Public and private sector investment will lead to the development and demonstration of technologies to cut carbon emissions from road transport and accelerate the commercialisation of low carbon vehicles.

More than £27 million of public funding, from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Technology Strategy Board, together with £29 million of private sector funding, will be invested in 17 major R&D projects.  These will be led by major vehicle manufacturers including Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Nissan, however, a large number of small and medium-sized companies, including suppliers, will be closely involved in the development work.

“By working with industry to invest in innovative research and development we are putting the UK at the cutting edge of low carbon vehicle technology – delivering long term benefits for the economy and the environment,” said Business and Enterprise Minister, Mark Prisk.

The projects aim to boost UK capability by encouraging a reduction of costs in the supply base and a faster adoption of new technologies on UK roads, with a focus on pulling technology through the various stages of the innovation chain.

The projects include:

  • The development of a complete EV drive system that incorporates motor, controller and gearbox, cooling and connectors within a single cast plug and play package. The outputs will be low cost, with a range of power outputs, and suitable for integration across multiple OEM vehicle platforms (led by Ashwoods Automotive Ltd).
  • ‘Car for Young Drivers’ will deliver novel, low carbon transport solutions to alleviate the issues associated with getting young drivers safely integrated into the vehicle owning and driving population. The project will produce a quadricycle vehicle for two people that features novel hybrid driveline technology, lightweight impact-resistant body and features designed specifically to appeal to young drivers (led by mi Technology Group Ltd).
  • The development of a production-ready flywheel hybrid midibus by 2014, targeting a 15% reduction in fuel consumption. The product could lead to a step change in fuel consumption and emissions of the Wrightbus midibus fleet and, through future retro-fit projects, for existing vehicles (led by Wrightbus Ltd).
  • The development of ground-breaking woven 3D reinforcement systems for automotive components. CO2 emissions can be directly addressed by using lightweight, low inertia materials, such as aluminium matrix composites (AMCs), which can combine the strength and stiffness of steels with the weight of aluminium. This work builds on a previous Technology Strategy Board-funded project, which proved the feasibility of using AMC inserts (led by Jaguar Cars Ltd).

The companies leading the projects are: Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd, Ashwoods Automotive Ltd, Delta Motorsport Ltd, Ford Motor Company Ltd, GKN Structures, Jaguar Cars Ltd (four projects), Land Rover, mi Technology Group Ltd, Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK Ltd, Nissan Technical Centre Europe, Prodrive Automotive Technology (Europe) Ltd, Ricardo UK Ltd, Turbo Power Systems and Wrightbus Ltd.


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