Formula 1 technology to make cars go greener

Part of a GBP38m government fund for a project to develop ideas for cutting vehicle emissions and improving fuel efficiency will be used to design greener cars using Formula 1 technology, the UK government’s Department for Transport revealed on Monday.

Family cars could soon designed to be lighter and therefore more fuel efficient, by a consortium that includes Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan. The consortium has received GBP1.7m from the government scheme and will use the science behind F1 racing cars and space satellites to reduce the weight of steel components in vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf by more than half. This has the potential to extend the distance a plug-in car can drive by up to 25%.

More than 130 car manufacturers, technology companies and research centres across the country to have won a share of the GBP38m research and development fund launched in September 2015, which was designed to encourage companies to propose innovative ideas to cut vehicle emissions. The scheme is also intended to create hi-tech jobs and help Britain become a global leader in exporting state of the art, emission-cutting technology.

The funding for the winning projects is a combination of GBP30m from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and GBP8.2m of additional funding from Innovate UK, who will support the schemes.

Working prototypes are expected to be unveiled by 2018 and could feature in passenger cars from 2020.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones stated:

“Our GBP38m investment will help Britain become a world leader in this exciting and valuable technology sector, creating skilled jobs of the future as part of our long-term economic plan. It will also mean lower running costs for motorists and less fuel consumption, which is good for the environment and our economy.

“This competition continues our GBP600m commitment by 2020 to support the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, making journeys cheaper and greener, ensuring the nation is fit for the future.”

Head of Transport at Innovate UK, Roland Meister, added:

“UK businesses have a great opportunity to be at the leading edge of the global drive to increase efficiency and reduce emissions from our vehicles. This GBP38m of government support means that more than 130 innovative organisations right across the country now have the chance to get their ideas off the drawing board and potentially into the cars and trucks of the future, boosting the economy by at least GBP532m in the process.”

The OLEV research and development fund will be awarded to 36 organisations in the West Midlands, which will receive a total of GBP7.6m, while in Yorkshire and the Humber, 12 organisations will receive a share of GBP4.4m. A total of GBP5.6m will be shared between 20 companies in the South-East and GBP7.5m will be distributed between 23 organisations in the East Midlands. Seven organisations in Scotland have been awarded a share of GBP2.5m and another seven organisations in the North-west will receive a total of GBP1.7m. GBP2.9m will be shared between 15 organisations in the East of England and in Greater London, 11 organisations will receive a share of GBP2.2m. Another GBP3.1m will be distributed across 16 organisations in the South-west, while five organisations in the North-east will receive a share of GBP570,000.