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Vehicles of the future get £130 million investment

Projects that will put Formula 1 technology into buses and diggers, and develop the next generation of engines are the first to receive money from a joint £1 billion government-industry fund.

The Business Secretary Vince Cable will announce £133 million of new investment for the winning projects on a visit to Ford in Dunton, Essex today (23 April 2014).

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) will see government and industry each invest £500 million in the sector over the next 10 years to research, develop and commercialise technologies for the vehicles of the future.

This has the potential to secure up to 30,000 jobs currently linked to producing engines and create many more in the supply chain.

Consortia led by Ford, GKN, Cummins and JCB have all received funding for projects to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

The next generation of cars, buses and diggers will be powered by radically different technologies and I want them to be developed here in Britain.

Over the last few decades the British car industry has been transformed and today a new vehicle rolls off a UK production line every 20 seconds.

To capitalise on the success of our motor industry these projects will be the first of many to receive funding from the new £1 billion Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) which we set up to turn technologies into products. The government’s industrial strategy is giving business the confidence to invest, securing high-skilled, long-term jobs and creating a stronger economy.

The 4 winning projects are:

  • Ford and their partners will receive a £13.1 million grant for their £100 million programme to upgrade the award winning EcoBoost engine. This will accelerate the introduction of advanced low carbon technologies to deliver improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
  • GKN Land Systems and their partners will receive a £7.5 million grant as part of a £16 million project to apply Formula 1 technology from Williams for use in buses. The Gyrodrive system is designed to save the braking energy of a bus as it slows for a stop and use it to accelerate the bus back up to speed. By avoiding wasting the energy every time a bus stops the system delivers fuel savings of 25%.
  • Cummins and their partners will receive a £4.9 million grant for a £9.9 million project to deliver significant reductions in carbon emissions from bus engines through the development of new stop-start diesel engine technology. This will improve fuel consumption by 15 to 20%.
  • JCB and their partner Flybrid will receive a £3.3 million grant as part of a £7.3 million project to apply Formula 1 technology for use in diggers. This will reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions resulting in a substantially reduced carbon footprint for construction projects using this machinery. On average, the carbon emissions of a single 20 tonne excavator will be reduced by an estimated 16 tonnes per year.

The Business Secretary also announced today (23 April 2014) that companies can shortly bid for a further £75 million from the APC with the launch of its second competition. The APC will now run bi-annual competitions which open in April and October each year.

Automotive Council co-chair Professor Richard Parry-Jones said:

The APC is key in the UK’s automotive strategy and in turn the initiatives of the Automotive Council. The APC has already made great initial progress towards our goal of securing the UK’s position as a global leader in propulsion technology, moving us ever closer to the industrialisation of the technologies needed for the move to ultra-low emission vehicles.

APC Chief Executive Tony Pixton said:

The Advanced Propulsion Centre has moved from conception to becoming operational within a matter of months. We are committed to maintaining this momentum through future competitions and by building and supporting collaboration between APC partners.

These projects will demonstrate the innovation and expertise that exists in the UK and through real world applications of advanced technology will provide both economic and environmental benefits.

The competition was run for the APC by the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board.

A report showcasing the progress that has been made in the UK’s industrial strategy has also been published today (23 April 2014).

Highlighting the success of the partnership that has been developed between industry and government, the progress report details the steps that are being taken to secure long-term growth for the UK.

Notes to editors:

1.The results of the APC competition, including further details about the projects have been published on the Technology Strategy Board website.

2.Ford Motor Company has been the UK market leader in car sales for 37 consecutive years and the commercial vehicle sales leader for 48 years. In the UK, Ford directly employs over 13,700 people, many in highly skilled roles developing and building high-technology, fuel-efficient, low CO2 engines, and with a further 100,000 jobs supported through the Ford supplier chain and dealer network. Ford plants at Bridgend in south Wales and Dagenham in east London have the combined capacity to assemble 2 million engines annually, enough to power 1 in 3 of the vehicles Ford produce globally. Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex is the global centre of excellence for powertrain R&D (together with the Dagenham Diesel Centre) and for global commercial vehicle development.

Ford media contact: Brian Bennett, Manager, Corporate Affairs, 01277 252957

3.GKN Land Systems is a leading supplier of engineered power management products, systems and services. It designs, manufactures and supplies products and services for the agricultural, construction, mining and utility markets and key industrial segments, offering integrated powertrain solutions. In addition, it provides global aftermarket distribution and through-life support.

GKN media contact: Nicola Durman, Head of External Communications, 01527 533 495

4.Cummins Inc. is a corporation of complementary business units that design, manufacture, distribute and service diesel and natural gas engines and related technologies, including fuel systems, controls, air handling, filtration, emission solutions and electrical power generation systems. Cummins Ltd. has been established in the UK for over 50 years, employing over 5,000 people in 7 production facilities. These facilities are involved in manufacturing engines, exhaust aftertreatment, turbochargers, alternators and power generation units. Visit Cummins.com for more information.

Cummins media contact: Alex Wheldon, Global Marketing Communications Manager 01733 395480

5.JCB is the world’s third largest construction equipment manufacturer by volume. The company has 22 plants around the world, of which 11 are in the United Kingdom, making over 300 different products including backhoe loaders, telescopic handlers, tracked and wheeled excavators, and wheeled loading shovels. The company employs over 11,000 people, with 6,500 based in the UK. JCB also manufactures its own major components, including engines in Derbyshire and transmission systems in Wales. The company has received 27 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for its many product innovations and export successes over the years.

JCB media contact: Nigel Chell, JCB Press Office, 01889 593012

6.The Technology Strategy Board is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit www.innovateuk.org.

7.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.