New £50m funding to accelerate automotive bid to reach zero carbon targets

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Three innovative UK-based zero-carbon automotive projects have secured important Government funding via the Advanced Propulsion Centre.

The combined award of £25.4m, provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and delivered by Innovate UK, will support the development of three projects. The total value of the funding will be at least £50m given industry contributions for the following projects:

– Hydrogen fuel cells for buses and large vehicles
– An electric bus drivetrain that integrates heating, cooling and ventilation to reduce energy consumption
– A lightweight electric drive unit for a variety of new vehicles that offers increased range, power and torque.

With the whole of the UK committed to net zero carbon by 2050, following legislation published in June, each project is built on collaboration, bringing together industry and academia to ensure ideas are developed and brought to market quickly.

This current round of funding creates or safeguards almost 4,000 jobs in the UK, upskilling employees in roles including research, development and manufacturing.

The three winning projects are:

Jaguar Land Rover – CompETe

All new Jaguar and Land Rover vehicle models will have an electrified option from 2020 and, as part of this strategy, the company has partnered with world class academics at the University of Warwick and Newcastle University, and industrial partners Lyra Electronics, Fuchs Lubricants, C.Brandauer & Co. Limited, Motor Design Limited, Tata Steel and Inetic Limited. Together they will create an electric drive unit with class-leading efficiency, high power and torque density. The lightweight and compact unit will be supported by a newly developed UK production supply chain and is set to be assembled at their Engine Management Centre in Wolverhampton.

Intelligent Energy – Project Esther

Loughborough-based Intelligent Energy’s project will secure the UK’s position at the forefront of the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle market. Working with Alexander Dennis and Changan UK R&D Centre, the company will establish a UK fuel-cell production capability to deliver zero emission drivetrain solutions for large passenger cars, buses and heavy-duty transport. The new modular fuel cell system, supported by an expanded supply chain, will be lower cost than current options.

Equipmake – CELEB 2

A consortia lead by Equipmake, will develop novel electric bus architecture that significantly improves efficiency, reduces unit cost and accelerates market uptake. Drivetrains that are fully integrated with heating, cooling and ventilation systems will reduce energy consumption by over 30% compared with existing technologies, with the first vehicles entering testing in London and Buenos Aires within two years.

Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Investing in cleaner, greener technologies for our world-leading automotive industry will help us reach our target to wipe out our contribution to climate change by 2050.

Through the Advanced Propulsion Centre, we’ve provided over £420 million to support ideas which have brought low or zero carbon vehicles to market. The three new projects announced today will ensure we keep our foot on the pedal and help the UK to go further, faster”.

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