Investment in development of low-carbon technologies will create and safeguard engineering jobs across the UK

The UK is to remain a world leader in the evolution of cleaner and greener motoring thanks to government and industry funding towards the development of innovative low-carbon technologies.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), a joint venture between the UK Government and Automotive industry, has awarded £35 million to three UK-based low carbon automotive powertrain projects, potentially creating and safeguarding nearly 1,800 UK jobs. The APC’s role is to facilitate funding and provide expertise to create technologies for a cleaner automotive future and these projects will help support the government’s Road to Zero strategy to see more than half of all new car sales as ultra-low emission by 2030. 

Supported by a total value of more than £70 million, including both government and industry investment, the projects are not only expected to reduce pollution by more than 3 million tonnes of CO2, but will also enhance the UK’s supply chain and upskill its existing UK workforce.

Marcus Roberts, lead automotive recruitment consultant at Matchtech, said:

“Automotive Technology is going through some exciting advances and the APC Low Carbon Automotive Technology investment is a show of intent to keep the UK at the forefront of creative technology development and a hotbed where engineers can flourish.

“Along with the safeguarding and job creation, I’m equally as pleased that this funding shines a spotlight on the ingenious work done by some our clients. Well done to those who have secured funding.”

Managed by some of the industry’s most-recognised names such as Aston Martin, Ceres Power, Nissan and Artemis Intelligent Power, each project focuses on a different area, such as the development of hydraulic power, fuel-cell evolution and advanced transmissions, across all sectors of the industry.

According to APC, in Greater London, non-mobile machinery contributes 10% of all NOx emissions and 11% of all PM10 emissions. One initiative, aims to introduce a “disruptive technology to the off-highway vehicle sector, which will re-invent hydraulic power for the digital age”. The digital displacement hydraulic technology could reduce fuel consumption and the output of CO2 emissions of excavators and wheel loaders by more than 50%, all the while helping to build future R&D and manufacturing capability in Scotland.

Ceres Power, meanwhile, will lead a project in partnership with Nissan and The Welding Institute to develop a compact fuel cell range extender, specifically designed for electric light commercial vehicles (LCVs). As part of the Road to Zero strategy, the government wants 40 per cent of all new van sales to be ultra-low emission by 2030 – that’s quite a goal, considering the fact that ultra-low emission vans currently make up just 0.3 per cent of new sales.

Working in collaboration with Aston Martin, Hofer Powertrain is developing a new generation of e-axle transmissions, e-motors and inverter modules, for future high-performance vehicles. Since the components will be manufactured in the UK, the project is expected to build the UK’s e-mobility skills base and improve productivity.

Ian Constance, Chief Executive of the APC, said: “The challenge of lowering emissions is shared by the entire automotive industry, and includes all areas of the sector. This latest round of APC funding highlights the broad range of vehicle types that will benefit from developments in low carbon innovation, with successful applicants developing technologies for commercial and off-highway vehicles, as well as the wider e-mobility industry. We expect that this approach will help to create and safeguard jobs across the UK automotive sector.”

Richard Harrington, Automotive Minister, added: “The ingenuity of the winners in this round of APC funding is testament to the talent of UK innovators and our progress as global leaders in advanced vehicle technology. With clean growth and the future of mobility at the centre of our modern Industrial Strategy, we will continue to unlock opportunities across the country, while cutting carbon emissions for both businesses and consumers.”

This funding follows Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry’s announcement in May to deliver a £20 million boost to businesses embracing the potential for a future UK hydrogen economy. The announcement was made during a visit to Swindon’s innovative Hydrogen Hub and Recycling Technologies, as part of the Clean Growth Strategy.

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