The Government has revealed the projects that will share £73.5m to advance technology to help reduce vehicle emissions.
The projects across the UK will receive a share of the new investment to develop new technology for the next generation of electric taxis, cars and vans – including recyclable batteries, advanced electrical systems and ultra-lightweight components.
Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi spoke at today's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ virtual International Automotive Summit, where he said the funding will contribute to the automotive sector’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic by safeguarding more than 14,000 UK research and manufacturing jobs.
He said it will also enable the manufacture of a greater volume of low emission cars, commercial vehicles and components right here in the UK.
Zahawi said: “Whether it’s researching future battery design or creating a lightweight version of the Ford Transit, companies in every part of the UK are leading the world in advanced automotive technology.
“Not only will this funding ensure automotive companies can play their part in keeping us on the path to net zero emissions by 2050, it will also support thousands of jobs and be a welcome step towards the industry’s economic recovery.”
Companies set to benefit include Ford Technologies, BMW Motorsport, Jaguar Land Rover and the London Electric Vehicle Company, manufacturer of electric taxis.
The successful projects were chosen by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), which seeks to maintain the UK’s position as a centre of excellence for the research and development of low carbon vehicle technology.
Over an initial 10-year lifespan, the APC has a goal to save 50 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from the automotive industry, supporting the UK government’s net zero plans.
"..This funding doesn't help the automotive industry now..."
John Roberts, head of automotive and roadside at Colliers International, the automotive property specialist, said that while the funding is welcome news for the future of the industry, it will not help an industry that is need now.
Roberts said: "This funding doesn’t help car manufacturers or car retailers now because this money is set for forthcoming projects in years to come.
"The funding announcement should have also addressed the here and now – which is all about getting the economy going and ensuring that people are mobile and in essence, enabling manufacturers and dealerships to sell an attractive proposition to their customers at this point in time.
"The sustainable automotive industry agenda is vital, and we do need a strategy that encourages the public and stakeholders to move away from more polluting vehicles to greener cars.
"A solution could be for the Government to consider introducing a new scrappage scheme, similar to what was announced in the 2009 UK Budget, and/or offer assistance with VAT in relation to electric or hybrid vehicles, to encourage British motorists to purchase a new more efficient or an alternative fuel vehicle to drive the more polluting ones off the road – this is will generate sales now.”
The successful APC funded projects are:
- LEVC – EVE (Electric Vehicle Evolution)
This is a collaborative project involving specialist UK-based companies and academia in which a new battery will be designed specifically for LEVC’s vehicles.
The battery will offer higher performance and will be designed for re-use and recycling. It will build on the success of the current ‘eCity’ technology that has already helped to cut over 30,000 tonnes of CO2.
The investment in this new technology ensures LEVC will continue to lead the development of innovative green mobility products.
- Jaguar Land Rover - Hi-VIBES
Jaguar Land Rover is leading the development of cutting-edge electrified propulsion technologies.
The Hi-VIBES project will support the growing portfolio of electrified products across the company’s range.
Bringing together a consortium including academics from Nottingham University and industry partners Lyra Electronics and Pektron, the project will create an innovative and fully integrated high voltage electronics system.
Offering significant cost, weight and installation benefits, the system will be used to control the batteries in Jaguar Land Rover’s future Battery Electric Vehicles. It will include features such as 2-way charging, thermal management and interface to a 12V power supply system.
- Avid Technology Limited - REVO
Partnering with Warwick University and The Welding Institute, this project is led by Avid Technology Limited.
The aim is to help improve the power to weight ratio of Avid’s EVO electric motor by 25%.
The project will also develop design and manufacturing processes so that the company is able to make 100,000 motors per year whilst reducing costs by 75%.
It will also help deliver improvements in electric and hybrid vehicle efficiency.
- TEVVA - SANGREAL
This project will bench-test an innovative design of axle for 7.5 to 14-tonne commercial vehicles. Further developing and commercialising Tevva’s existing battery module and pack design, this will improve safety through better impact robustness.
It will also add active thermal management. A substantial part of the investment will develop a system to ensure safe and reliable performance for both on and off-road applications.
This enables predictive and preventative servicing that intelligently controls the range extender so that its use is minimised overall, and is avoided entirely in urban environments.
- Constellium Ltd – ALIVE
Constellium has developed innovative high strength aluminium alloys and novel processing, joining and assembly technologies for use in battery enclosures.
These enclosures are light weight and crash resistant and are for use in ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).
The project will further develop the technology so it can be manufactured at different volumes and can be exported as a kit of parts for local assembly.
- Cummins Turbo Technologies Ltd – TRIDENT
Energy recovery from the air flowing in a vehicle’s motor is a key technology for increasing efficiency. Cummins Turbo Technologies is looking to develop and manufacture class leading air handling platforms to align with car manufacturer roadmaps, which is important because they determine the timetable of the introduction of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles.
The project will result in more components being designed and manufactured in the UK.
- Magnetic Systems Technology Ltd – Magtec
There is a niche market for high-value commercial vehicles, which can be fulfilled by Magtec.
It aims to become the UK’s only complete electric drivetrain Tier 1 supplier for commercial vehicles. It will be supported by expertise from two High Value Manufacturing Catapults that include direct customer insight from four Original Equipment Manufacturer customers.
The project will develop techniques around the motor build stage and will redesign the production system to be agile. This will include a method to automate coil winding and insertion, and define materials and methods of assembly.
- BMW (Motorsport) Ltd – FutureBEV
This project aims to deliver competitive powertrains in function and cost. The team will develop a new UK supply chain for subcomponents.
It will also deliver new designs for the full integration of an inverter within the powertrain.
This will be targeted to optimise the system’s cost, weight and volume. This technology will help to drive battery electric vehicles (BEV) from niche to mainstream and will work with the Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult in Newport.
- Jaguar Land Rover – ZEUS
This project will develop a high-performance 4-wheel drive 400kW Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV).
It will be manufactured within an SUV platform.
The project parameters include zero tailpipe emissions, a range greater than 370 miles, charging within five minutes, and a battery and motor weight that’s 200kg lighter than the equivalent battery electric vehicle (BEV).
It brings together the latest in Delta’s battery technology and is supported by the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre.
The project will deliver four prototype SUVs that will prove the technology can satisfy customer and legal requirements for vehicle attributes.
- Ford Technologies Ltd – eSHADOW
This project is to determine the technical, financial and environmental challenges of high-volume production of hybrid structures.
Hybrid structures mix materials, including traditional metals and lightweight composites.
This reduces weight by using the most appropriate materials in the right places. It will focus on commercial vehicle body and chassis frames.
The Ford Transit is engineered in the UK and the project targets a weight reduction of around 40% (80kg) over the current design of the vehicle.
Initially it will support UK supermarket fleets but it has the aspiration to apply the technology across SUV and Pick-Up vehicles.
The project will deliver a hybrid vehicle frame structure design that is capable of being manufactured at high volume from advance strength steel, aluminium and composite materials.