The projects will create the next generation of electric and hybrid buses, bring fuel cells into van fleets, develop high-efficiency transmissions, and develop cleaner diesel engines.
These four projects will receive funding from the latest investment in a 10-year, £1 billion (US$1.5 billion) government–industry joint programme in advanced propulsion, through the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC):
- A new generation of electric and hybrid buses will be developed by Wrightbus and its partners in Northern Ireland, who will receive a grant of £4.3 million towards a £8.6 million programme.
- A joint £12.7 million project led by Intelligent Energy will receive a £6.3 million grant to develop a hydrogen PEM fuel cell range-extender for electric light commercial vehicle fleets.
- A high-efficiency transmission and electric drive will be developed by hofer powertrain UK, which is awarded £16.4 million towards a £32.8 million programme.
- Perkins Engines and its partners will develop innovative technologies for UK-built diesel engines for off-highway use and worldwide export, with a grant of £13 million towards a £25.1 million project.
‘Green technology is needed to drive the cars of the future, and British designers and manufacturers must continue to lead innovators in this field,’ says UK Business Secretary Vince Cable, who announced the APC grants.
Cable continues: ‘With projects as diverse as developing high-efficiency transmissions to creating a new generation of electric and hybrid buses, the Advanced Propulsion Centre is one of the driving forces behind the development of new technology to fuel the green engines of the future, enabling our car industry to be truly world-beating.’
The Advanced Propulsion Centre was set up in 2014 as a global centre of excellence for low-carbon powertrain development and production. It has now committed investment for 10 low-carbon propulsion projects that will safeguard development and manufacturing jobs in the UK.
‘The Advanced Propulsion Centre is on target to create and secure 30 000 UK jobs over the next decade, cutting CO2 emissions through new technology developed in Great Britain and Northern Ireland to be exported worldwide,’ says APC Chief Executive Tony Pixton.
‘The successful collaboration between industry and government through the Automotive Council has created the APC, and shows the UK’s commitment to be a global leader in low-carbon propulsion systems development and production,’ continues Pixton. ‘We encourage all companies to start discussions with potential partners now, in order to be ready for the next round of grant funding available later this year.’
The joint industry and government investment through the APC is selected by twice-yearly funding competitions. Bids will soon be welcomed from project teams to access a further £100 million which will be committed in autumn 2015.