The UK car industry is set to benefit from a £73.5m investment from the government to develop a range of green technologies including recyclable batteries for electric vehicles.
Speaking at the SMMT virtual International Automotive Summit today, business minister Nadhim Zahawi revealed 10 projects that will share the pot of cash which will in turn safeguard jobs.
The projects will be developing technology for the next generation of electric taxis, cars and vans – including recyclable batteries, advanced electrical systems and ultra-lightweight components.
Companies set to benefit include Ford Technologies, BMW Motorsport, Jaguar Land Rover and the London Electric Vehicle Company, manufacturer of the black cab.
The government says the investment will safeguard more than 14,000 UK research and manufacturing jobs.
Zahawi said: ‘Whether it’s researching future battery design or creating a lightweight version of the Ford Transit, companies in every part of the United Kingdom 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.
‘The funding boost will aid the development of highly efficient and ultra-lightweight components and help drive the automotive industry further away from its reliance on fossil fuel technologies.’
The full list of projects, chosen by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), are as follows:
- LEVC – Electric Vehicle Evolution (Coventry): The London Electric Vehicle will develop a new battery designed specifically for its vehicles for higher performance and also to be reused and recycled
- Constellium Ltd – ALIVE (Slough): This project will develop the manufacturing processes for light weight, crash-resistant battery enclosures. These will be used in ultra-low emission vehicles
- Cummins Turbo Technologies Ltd – TRIDENT (Huddersfield): This project will look to develop and manufacture an all-new electrical turbo that has greater efficiency and is for use in fuel cell electric vehicles
- Ford Technologies Ltd – eSHADOW (Warwick): This project will determine the technical, financial and environmental challenges of using advanced, lightweight materials in vehicle manufacturing
- Jaguar Land Rover – Hi-VIBES (Coventry): A consortium of academics and industry will create a new electronic system that will be easier to build, as well as being lighter and cheaper
- Avid Technology Limited – REVO (Cramlington, near Newcastle): It will help deliver improvements in electric and hybrid vehicle efficiency
- TEVVA – SANGREAL (Chelmsford): This project will bench-test an innovative design of axle for 7.5 to 14-tonne commercial vehicles. It will improve safety through better impact robustness
- Magnetic Systems Technology Ltd – Magtec (Sheffield): Magtec aims to become the UK’s only complete electric drivetrain Tier 1 supplier for commercial vehicles
- BMW (Motorsport) Ltd – FutureBEV (Warwick & Newport): This project aims to deliver better powertrains that are more cost-efficient
- Jaguar Land Rover – ZEUS (Coventry): This project will develop a high-performance four-wheel drive 400kW Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV)
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean added: ‘As we look to kickstart our green transport recovery, new technologies and cleaner fuels are going to play an even greater role in achieving our aim of a greener and more prosperous economy.
‘From recyclable batteries to state-of-the-art motors, not only will this funding create thousands of jobs, it will also bring us one step closer to achieving our net zero target within 30 years.’
At the same conference, SMMT chief Mike Hawes warned one in six automotive jobs are at risk of redundancy when the job retention scheme comes to an end.
Hawes called for a ‘dedicated restart package’ to save jobs and ‘pave the way for recovery’ as a survey of its members found that a third of their staff are still furloughed.
Meanwhile, Ford of Britain chairman, Graham Hoare, called for a long-term strategy from the government to support the take-up of electrified vehicles by consumers.
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