£130m investment for vehicles of the future

Posted on 23 Apr 2014 by The Manufacturer

Projects putting Formula 1 technology into buses and diggers while developing the next generation of engines are to receive money from a joint £1bn government-industry fund.

Business secretary Vince Cable will announce the £133m of new investment for the winning projects on a visit to Ford in Essex later today which will include Ford, GKN, Cummins and JCB.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) will see Government and industry each invest £500 million in the sector over the next ten years to research, develop and commercialise technologies for the vehicles of the future.

It is hoped the move will secure up to 30,000 jobs currently linked to producing engines, and also create many more in the supply chain.

Dr Cable said: “The next generation of cars, buses and diggers will be powered by radically different technologies and I want them to be developed here in Britain.

He added: “To capitalise on the success of our motor industry these projects will be the first of many to receive funding from the new £1 billion Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) which we set up to turn technologies into products.

“The Government’s industrial strategy is giving business the confidence to invest, securing high skilled, long term jobs and a creating a stronger economy.”

What do the winning projects get?

Ford and its partners will receive a £13.1m grant for its £100m programme to upgrade the award winning EcoBoost engine. This will accelerate the introduction of advanced low carbon technologies to deliver improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions.

GKN Land Systems and their partners will receive a £7.5m grant as part of a £16m project to apply Formula 1 technology from Williams for use in buses. The Gyrodrive system is designed to save the braking energy of a bus as it slows for a stop and use it to accelerate the bus back up to speed. By avoiding wasting the energy every time a bus stops the system delivers fuel savings of 25 per cent.

Cummins and their partners will receive a £4.9m grant for a £9.9m project to deliver significant reductions in carbon emissions from bus engines through the development of new stop-start diesel engine technology. This will improve fuel consumption by 15-20 per cent.

JCB and their partner Flybrid will receive a £3.3m grant as part of a £7.3m project to apply Formula 1 technology for use in diggers. This will reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions resulting in a substantially reduced carbon footprint for construction projects using this machinery. On average, the carbon emissions of a single 20 tonne excavator will be reduced by an estimated 16 tonnes per year.

David Raistrick, Deloitte UK’s automotive leader, said the the automotive sector is heading into a “transformative” and exciting time and praised the Government’s support.

“The government’s support in developing these technologies, as well as its commitment to funding the skills and expertise behind these technologies, will help to keep Britain at the forefront of innovation in a sector which is very important to the UK economy.

“We are entering an exciting and transformative time in the automotive sector. Naturally aspirated engines (engines without a turbo or supercharger) are likely to start disappearing in the next ten years as technology develops. At the same time, driverless cars are becoming an ever greater likelihood. Having seen Google transform a number of Toyota Prius to operate on the road without drivers, it can only be a matter of time before this technology becomes more widespread. The cars have already clocked more than an estimated one million kilometres with only a couple of minor accidents – caused by the humans operating them. Three US states allow driverless cars on the roads; how long before they are legal everywhere?”

The Business Secretary also announced today that companies can shortly bid for a further £75 million from the APC with the launch of its second competition. The APC will now run bi-annual competitions which open in April and October each year.

Automotive Council co-chair Professor Richard Parry-Jones said the APC is a key part of the UK’s automotive strategy.

“The APC has already made great initial progress towards our goal of securing the UK’s position as a global leader in propulsion technology, moving us ever closer to the industrialisation of the technologies needed for the move to ultra-low emission vehicles,” he said.

APC Chief Executive Tony Pixton added: “These projects will demonstrate the innovation and expertise that exists in the UK and through real world applications of advanced technology will provide both economic and environmental benefits.”

A report showcasing the progress that has been made in the UK’s industrial strategy has also been published today.

Highlighting the success of the partnership that has been developed between industry and Government, the progress report details the steps that are being taken to secure long-term growth for the UK.