UK car industry to get GBP75m in government funding to design energy efficient cars of the future

A GBP75m fund has been launched by the UK government that will enable automotive businesses to create new low carbon technologies in order to make cars more energy efficient and also help safeguard up to 30,000 jobs in engine production, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) reported.

The funding will be for pilot projects of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), which was announced in July and is expected to channel from government and industry investment of GBP1bn to fund the development of new technologies over the next decade.

Innovation agency for the UK, the Technology Strategy Board, will run the competition to find the pilot projects for the APC.

Bidders applying for a share of the GBP75m APC fund are required to form a group which includes at least one vehicle manufacturer, an SME and at least one supply chain company. The competition will support a range of powertrain technologies and will open on the 2 December 2013. The projects are expected to commence from April 2014.

Chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, Iain Gray commented: “The APC is a key element of the joint government-industry strategy for the automotive sector. This competition will fund a number of projects that will strengthen UK capability as well as developing the UK’s propulsion systems supply chain. As such the APC represents a new way to embed innovation further into the UK automotive sector, helping us gain a competitive edge in this industry.”

In addition, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced a GBP1.5m project that will test a driverless car project in a pedestrianised area in Milton Keynes city centre. These two person ‘pods’ will be run on designated pathways in the UK city centre and an initial batch of 20 pods is planned to be up and running by 2015. These will be driver-operated and will run on lanes separated from pedestrians. By the middle of 2017, 100 fully autonomous pods, which will use sensors to avoid obstacles, are expected to be running on pathways alongside pedestrians. Early collaborators on this project include engineering consultancy firm Arup, Transport Systems Catapult, The Automotive Council, and Cambridge and Oxford Universities.