Earlier this year, a group of manufacturers and academics in the UK launched the £29m Low-Carbon Vehicle Technology Project with the aim, said project manager John O'Connor, of safeguarding more than 2,000 jobs by 2014 and spawning some 40 businesses.
Over 150 representatives from government, stakeholder organisations and small/medium-sized businesses heard how the Low Carbon Vehicle Technology Project (LCVTP) will shape the future of passenger transport. Companies involved in the project are also building vehicles that can go into a long-term trial of electric vehicles in the region called CABLED.
The £29million West Midlands-based project that will ensure Britain's place at the heart of the low carbon vehicle revolution.
Following an address from Geoff Dart, Director of Advanced Manufacturing Industries at the launch BIS, guests heard presentations from the project's partners: Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors, Zytek, Ricardo, MIRA, WMG (formerly Warwick Manufacturing Group) at the University of Warwick and Coventry University - who set out their vision for low carbon vehicles and invited like-minded potential suppliers to work with them in close collaboration.
Commenting on the launch, Project Director John O'Connor from WMG (which is leading three of the project's workstreams) said: "We have announced details of the LCVTP's 15 workstreams and the project partners have shared their low carbon vehicle technology plans, the aim being to secure active participation from forward-thinking businesses across the UK. All of the businesses present are expert in their chosen fields and have been invited to register their interest in working alongside these globally recognised organisations over the next five years to develop tangible, market-ready technologies that will revolutionise how vehicles are powered and manufactured in the future."
Speaking at the event Dr Geoff Davis, MIRA's Business Development Director, said: "There's no one technology that will deliver a low carbon future. It requires a fundamental reassessment of how we approach vehicle engineering; from advanced battery and motor technology for efficient propulsion, light weight materials and aerodynamics to minimize lost energy, through to intelligent control systems for efficient operation in urban environments."
"MIRA is naturally at the heart of all these areas and we are delighted to work alongside those here today to ensure we continue to deliver the technological solutions to the pressing issues facing our society. What's more, the low carbon agenda has for the first time in decades changed the rules of engagement in the auto industry. The need for completely new components, sourced from new partners and assembled into new modules is forging new alliances. If we are adept in this time of change, this region will emerge stronger than ever as the primary source of low carbon technology for the global marketplace."
The Low Carbon Vehicle Technology Project comprises 15 separate technical R&D workstreams, each of which is led by a partner who will work closely with selected SMEs to develop solutions spanning: Battery Cells & Packs, Drive Motors, Power Electronics, High Voltage Electrical Distribution, Auxiliary Power Units, Vehicle Supervisory Control, Lightweight Structures, Vehicle Dynamics & Traction Control, High Efficiency Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) and System Cooling, Reduction of Parasitic Losses, Waste Energy & Energy Storage, Aerodynamic Performance, Human Machine Interface (HMI) Engineering, Large Saloon Vehicle and Optimised Electric Vehicle Package.
Professor Neville Jackson, chief innovation and technology officer of Ricardo plc (Lead partner on the Waste Energy & Energy Storage workstream) and chair of the UK Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, said: "Ricardo is extremely pleased to be an active participant in the LCVTP both as a member of the project and lead partner in a number of work streams. The programme is heavily focused on vehicle electrification technologies where we have a real opportunity to capitalise on some key UK innovations and capabilities. We look forward to working with our partners to help catalyse the development of low carbon technology and innovation."
Dr Clive Hickman from Tata (Battery & Battery Packs and High Voltage Electrical Distribution Lead Partner) added: "Our first generation electric vehicle, the Indica Vista, will be on Britain's roads later this year, but this is just the start. We are already planning next generation Electric Vehicles and the LCVTP programme is integral to our plans. Our intention is to provide radical innovations in system technologies, which we will deploy across deducted Electric Vehicle programs."
The LCVTP has been made possible through a £19million investment (£9.5million funding from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands and £9.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund Programme (ERDF)) and a further £10 million contribution from the industry partners involved.
The project will create between 3,000 and 11,500 jobs in the UK by 2020, the majority of those being in the West Midlands and will also safeguard jobs in the supply chain as businesses switch to low carbon opportunities. In addition, research estimates wealth creation resulting form the project at between £690m and £2.8bn.
The LCVTP brings Advantage West Midlands' investment in low carbon vehicle initiatives £41.2million. The Agency has already invested more than £22million in a range of low carbon Vehicle projects, including: a pioneering intelligent transport systems test facility (innovITS ADVANCE) and the national ultra low carbon vehicle trial (known in the West Midlands as CABLED).
Details of the ground-breaking Low Carbon Vehicle Technology Project:
- £29million combined financial investment (AWM, ERDF & Industry funded)
- Led by 7 world-renowned industry and research partners
- Creating 15 separate workstreams - from battery cells to aerodynamics
- Generating 3,000 new jobs and safeguarding a further 10,000
- Accelerating the introduction of low carbon vehicles by 4 years
- First prototypes ready by 2012
- Full manufacture of vehicles featuring low carbon technologies by 2013/14
- Creating between £690m and £2.8bn of wealth
- Project pivotal to Government's decision to declare West Midlands a low Carbon Economic Area for advanced automotive engineering (announced by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson).
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Source: Advantage West Midlands