University of Nottingham chosen as new £3.5m research centre for powering electric vehicles

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GKN Automotive, the global drive systems manufacturer, has announced its new Advanced Research Centre – created to develop next-generation eDrive systems to power electric vehicles.

GKN Automotive is partnering with the University of Nottingham and Newcastle University on the project, which will focus on the development of ultra-high efficiency EDUs for future electric vehicles.

The Advanced Research Centre is being supported through £3.5m in funding from the Melrose Skills Fund.

The project will be virtually shared between the engineering departments at the University of Nottingham and Newcastle University, with research teams at each university operating collaboratively with engineers at the GKN Automotive Innovation Centre.

Gordon Day, managing director, GKN Automotive Innovation Centre, said: “GKN Automotive is a pioneer of advanced eDrive development and this new research partnership will play a key role in strengthening the innovation of electrification technologies for future advanced propulsion systems.

“We are extremely proud that this research will be in partnership with Newcastle University and the University of Nottingham, two renowned and respected global leaders in automotive electrification engineering research. Both institutions will also play a leading role in helping us develop a supply of high-calibre engineering talent, which is essential to enable us to put the UK at the forefront of global automotive industry innovation.”

Both partner universities are part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s ‘spoke’ community. The initiative brings together specialist academic, technological, and commercial expertise from across the UK to share best practice for the development of low emission propulsion technologies. The University of Nottingham is the APC’s spoke for power electronics, and home to the Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) Industrialisation Centre – Midlands; while Newcastle University is the spoke for electric motors, and leads the national network of four DER Industrialisation Centres including the Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centre – North East.

The Centres are backed by £33m UK Government funding (UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), providing open access facilities with state-of-the-art equipment.

The Melrose Skills Fund is a £10m fund, allocated over five years across GKN Aerospace and GKN Automotive, developing and promoting engineering skills in the UK. The first phase of investment saw the launch of the Skills Development Programme at the Abingdon Innovation Centre, supporting the development of engineering skills through STEM engagement, apprenticeships, training opportunities and internal staff upskilling. This next phase now focuses on Research.