Innovation needed in process as well as product for advanced propulsion

11 June 2014 #SMMT News

SMMT International Automotive Summit 2014

The automotive and finance industries must work to change the process for manufacturing new technologies in large quantities, a panel of experts at the 2014 SMMT International Automotive Summit has suggested.

John Leech, Head of Automotive at KPMG LLP noted a number of alternatives to traditional bank funding, which included angel investors, inward investment and peer-to-peer finance. He revealed that 3,700 UK SMEs across a number of industries were able to raise more than £300 million through peer-to-peer funding, while a further £310 million was raised in donations alone.

The potential of UK advanced technologies is vast. Richard Bruges, CEO of Productiv, claimed that there are 150 new technologies in the UK currently waiting to be put into high-volume production, yet none are being developed for high-volume production with a tier one supplier.  Dr Tim Woolmer, CTO of YASA Motors attributed this to the level of risk that a tier one supplier would have to undertake to make a new technology production-ready.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is confident that it can support the ‘innovation ecosystem’ and help bring new UK-developed technologies into mass production. It launched a second round of funding in May, with £75 million to be awarded to eligible candidates in September.  APC Competitions and Technical Specialist, Jon Beasley, explained that winners of the first £130 million round earlier in the year have the ability to save 250,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.

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