Bibendum’s thumbs up to UK green automotive companies

Posted on 16 May 2011 by The Manufacturer

At this year’s Challenge Bibendum event in Berlin, TM looks forward to meeting a new generation of UK automotive innovators.

Michelin’s famous mascot, Bibendum or aka ‘the Michelin man’, has endorsed for the last 12 years to the annual Challenge Bibendum event which showcases the latest developments in automotive technology.

The event, to be hosted in Berlin from May 18-22, will focus on developments for low carbon transportation and sustainable industry. TM will be in attendance and looks forward to meeting with the unusually strong showing of UK manufacturers.

Primary among these participants is Ashwoods Automotive who will be the first UK manufacturer of low carbon vehicles to attend the Challenge Bibendum event, previous UK representatives having been component manufacturers and suppliers rather than makers of the final product.

Ashwoods specialise in providing low carbon commercial fleets to companies in the UK and further afield and the will have all their latest wares on show in Berlin later this week.

Another UK highlight at the event will be the demonstration of the new fuel cell black cab which is soon to become a feature on London’s streets. The hydrogen powered taxi has already made its debut in Britain’s capital and Phil Baldock, head of communications at Michelin UK says his firm are delighted to support the promotion of the transport innovation abroad. “It is excellent that Intelligent Energy, with innovative vehicles like the Fuel Cell Black Cab and the zero emission scooter, has chosen Michelin’s Challenge Bibendum to showcase its developments,” says Baldock.

The fuel cell which powers the cab, and the scooter mentioned above, has been developed and will be manufactured by Loughborough-based clean power company, Intelligent Energy. The fuel cell scooter, which recently achieved European Whole Vehicle Type Approval, a first for a hydrogen cell vehicle, was developed in partnership with Suzuki Motor Corporation.

In anticipation of the public airing of the company’s products Dr Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy says: “The 11th annual Challenge Bibendum in Berlin gives us a timely opportunity to showcase some of our automotive work whilst also demonstrating the strides we have made towards commercialisation in one of our target mass consumer markets,” he continued: “Germany has become one of the first nations in the world to fully embrace hydrogen infrastructure development, in particular with its H2 Mobility programme, of which Intelligent Energy is a proud participant. The programme has now reached its defined second phase with the implementation of a national hydrogen retail refuelling infrastructure by 2015 in support of the roll-out of fuel cell electric vehicles.” Germany’s strides ahead in this arena set a challenge for the UK to live up to.

The fuel cell black cab, developed by Intelligent Energy in collaboration with mainstream automotive manufacturer, Lotus Cars, will be available for test drive and ride experiences in Berlin alongside numerous other international commercial and concept vehicles with low carbon attributes. TM looks forward to putting a few of them through their paces!

Follow TM on Twitter to hear real time reactions to the automotive exhibits in Berlin.