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Launch Day For Project Set To Ensure Britain's Place At The Heart Of The Next Industrial Revolution - In Low Carbon Transportation

Details of Ground-breaking Low Carbon Vehicle Technology Project Announced:

  • £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
  • Accelerating the introduction of low carbon vehicles by 4 years
  • First validation units ready by 2012
  • Full manufacture of vehicles featuring low carbon technologies by 2013/14
  • 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 last week)

Full details of the £29million West Midlands-based project that will ensure Britain’s place at the heart of the low carbon vehicle revolution were revealed at a launch event held at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire on the 23rd February 2010.

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.

Following an address from Geoff Dart, Director of Advanced Manufacturing Industries at 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: “Today 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.”

Companies from across the UK with relevant expertise and the desire to get involved are invited to register their interest by e-mailing lowcarbon@warwick.ac.uk

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 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).

ERDF / AWM Logo

To set up interviews with partners, obtain accompanying images or for more information please contact: Stuart Humphreys or Tom Rawlings at Grayling on 0121 265 2777 or 0121 265 2764. Alternatively email stuart.humphreys@grayling.com or tom.rawlings@grayling.com

Notes to Editors:

Advantage West Midlands is one of nine Regional Development Agencies in England whose role is to transform the English regions through sustainable economic development. For more information visit: www.advantagewm.co.uk

The West Midlands has a concentration of world class automotive engineering facilities, both industry-owned and independent. The automotive industry employs more than 115,000 people contributing circa £13 billion to the regional economy.

The West Midlands region alone accounts for over 60 per cent of the UK R&D in the automotive sector, with companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors, Shanghai Automotive and Ricardo spending in excess of £650million per annum.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson recently announced the creation of a Low Carbon Economic Area for Advanced Automotive Engineering in the Midlands. The LCVTP was critical to the Government’s decision to make the region a LCEA.

WMG (formerly Warwick Manufacturing Group) was launched in 1980 and now has 220 staff. Since 1980 more than 24,000 individuals have gone through, with over 6,000 Masters degrees awarded and the close involvement of 500 UK companies. WMG has teaching and research centers in Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and provides expert advice to many overseas governments and companies. It has had significant impact at UK regional, national and international levels, examples respectively being the Premium Automotive Skills programme, managers’ training for Network Rail and training for senior managers in Chinese state-owned enterprises.

MIRA Ltd is the global development partner to the automotive and defence sectors. MIRA’s services encompass: vehicle design, development, certification & consultancy. A cornerstone of the industry, MIRA delivers tailored solutions ranging from turnkey vehicle design programmes, to individual tests. MIRA's customer base includes the major vehicle manufacturers, their Tier 1 & 2 supply chain and other independent consultancies throughout most of the vehicle-producing world.

At the UK HQ, a core of over 400 dedicated employees fuse the benefits of 32 major development facilities with advanced design & modelling techniques to slash both development timescales and the requirement to build costly prototypes in quantity.

Ricardo plc: With technical centres and offices in the UK, USA, Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Russia, China, Japan, India and Korea, Ricardo is a leading independent technology provider and strategic consultant to the world’s transportation sector and clean energy industries. The company’s engineering expertise ranges from vehicle systems integration, controls, electronics and software development, to the latest driveline and transmission systems and gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel cell powertrain technologies, as well as wind energy and tidal power systems.

Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) was founded in September 2005 to provide state-of-the-art engineering competence to Tata Motors Limited and the wider automotive engineering industry. TMETC has approximately 180 engineers, based at the International Automotive Research Centre at the University of Warwick Campus, with significant automotive engineering experience. TMETC’s value proposition involves the right combination of European and International Engineering skills with expert design and analytical skills from off-shore delivery partners, most of whom are Tata Group companies.

LCVTP Launch Announcement