The 2016 Autocar-Courland Next Generation award has been won by Joshua de Wit, a Mechanical Engineering Student studying at the University of Sussex. The result was announced in front of 1,100 guests at the SMMT 100th Annual Dinner, in London on Tuesday night.
21 year-old de Wit beat all the other entrants with his idea to use stacked graphene batteries to improve the sustainability of electric vehicles. He now claims the invaluable prize of six months’ work experience, shared across award sponsors Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Nissan, Peugeot and Toyota.
The award was launched in 2009 by Autocar in partnership with Courland and SMMT, in order to find and nurture bright new talent for the automotive industry. Entrants can be between the ages of 17 and 25, and are tasked with developing problem-solving ideas or innovations across a variety of motoring disciplines, ranging from technology, design and engineering to PR.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, was part of the nine-strong judging team that shortlisted Joshua’s proposal alongside those of two other entrants. Joel Hayes, of Northumbria University, presented an autonomous vehicle promotion campaign called ‘Be Driven’, and Manuel Agustin Yepez Corsetti, from the University of Glasgow, created a concept that harvests waste energy with thermoelectric materials. Both were congratulated on stage by Autocar’s Steve Cropley and global managing partner at Courland Automotive, Martin Bohling.
Joshua de Wit, said,
It is a privilege to be presented with the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award. From the outset, this has been a challenging but rewarding experience and the mentoring programme has really helped me to develop my idea and push myself further.
I’m now excited at the prospect of working with some of the world’s most renowned vehicle manufacturers, experience which I’ve no doubt will stand me in excellent stead for carving out a career after university.
Last year’s winner, Morven Fraser, recently completed her work experience tour and has since begun her third year at the University of Glasgow. You can hear more about her experiences and the 2016 shortlist in this video.