Auto firms pledged £26m to develop low-carbon technologies

Jaguar I-Pace

An innovative consortium aimed at developing low carbon solutions for the automotive industry has been awarded £26m to help with its research.

The funding has been pledged by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), in association with Innovate UK, to three automotive initiatives being led by Ford, GKN and Jaguar Land Rover.

The projects aim to deliver a competitive e-machine manufacturing capability, the re-skilling of workforces and a stronger supply chain capable of producing the next generation of low carbon vehicles in the UK.

The projects, which are worth £53m including the grant funding through the APC, are forecast to save more than 11 million tonnes of CO2. Each will focus on developing the UK’s e-mobility capabilities, from developing electric powertrain components to advanced manufacturing processes for EV components.

The projects details are:
• Ford – A team from the company’s UK-based Global Manufacturing Engineering division is working with machine tool supply chain partners to develop processes and equipment for the production of ultra-high volume next generation electrified powertrain systems. This will include the development of new digitisation tools for both the design, operation and monitoring of manufacturing plants.
• GKN – Development of future generation eDrive system platforms, utilising high speed eMachines and advanced high speed power electronics, in conjunction with Nottingham University. This project aims to further grow UK capability in the design and manufacture of eMachines and Power electronics.
• Jaguar Land Rover – A team from the company is leading a research project to develop future state of the art electric hybrid vehicle systems, in conjunction with universities and businesses across the UK. The project aims to significantly improve the efficiency of vehicle systems by utilising innovative electronic systems and componentry.

Ian Constance, chief executive of the APC, said: “The eighth round of APC funding marks our first investment of 2018 and comes at a crucial time for the UK automotive industry – when it must continue to invest in the latest innovations to remain at the forefront of low emission development.

“These projects build upon the current APC portfolio and demonstrate how UK companies are driving greater electrification into future vehicles, while standing to create or safeguard nearly 1,500 jobs supporting next generation electrified powertrains.”

Phil Swash, CEO of Redditch-based GKN’s Automotive division, said: “This funding will help GKN deliver the next generation of electric driveline systems, driving performance improvements and optimising costs to enable our OEM customers to bring electrification to a broader range of consumers.

“As an international company based in the UK, we are extremely pleased that advanced eDrive technologies are now being developed in our UK Innovation Centre in Abingdon, which will benefit the wider UK automotive sector.”

James Gaade, of JLR’s Powertrain Research division, said: “We are pleased to be awarded this funding with academic and industry partners, which builds on our existing positive relationship with APC.

“As we move to electrify all new Jaguar Land Rover vehicles from 2020, this funding will allow us to achieve critical breakthroughs in next generation of technology, accelerate innovation and deliver a cleaner future.

“Working collaboratively in this way will strengthen the UK supply chain capability and cement our position as a global centre of excellence for Autonomous, Connected, Electrified vehicles.”

The manufacturer’s first all-electric SUV, the Jaguar I-Pace is set for its market launch later this year.