Fuel efficiency driving Torotrak demand

ENGINEERING group Torotrak said it is making progress with each of its technology products and expects to see increasing demand from vehicle manufacturers that are under pressure to meet fuel economy and emissions targets.

The Leyland firm, listed on the FTSE techMark 100 index, has been working innovative transmission systems which require less energy and reduce Co2 emissions.

In March it paid £3m for a 20% stake in Silverstone-based Flybrid Automotive which has developed a fuel efficiency device for Formula 1 cars which is being applied to cars and commercial vehicles.

In a management statement for the four months to July 25 the company said a tie-up with US-based Allison Transmission, for it to make and sell Torotrak’s drive transmission technology, continued to progress well. At the start of the month Allison made a second licence payment worth £1.4m, and a third of £2.6m is due by March.

Torotrak said a demonstration of its M-KERS/Flybrid flywheel energy recovery system in a Volvo S60 test vehicle delivered fuel savings of up to 25%. It is now in early-stage discussions with a number of potential partners to exploit the technology in passenger cars.

Chief executive Jeremy Deering said: “Torotrak’s ambitions are high but we have our feet firmly on the ground in terms of our priorities. I am delighted with the new string to our bow with the investment in Flybrid, and equally pleased with how naturally and effectively the two organisations are working together. The validation of the technology by customers such as Volvo is a tremendous boost.

“With Flybrid as our main M-KERS channel to market, we have been able to increase resources focused on our V-Charge and main drive transmission programmes, helping accelerate activity in these important areas of our business.”

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