Advanced hybrid vehicle transmission designed and manufactured in the UK

The initial £28 million engineering program, part funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), has been running for nine months and is already entering the hardware test stage. hofer powertrain UK Ltd is leading a consortium, which includes YASA Motors Ltd and WMG at the University of Warwick, to deliver the transmission to global automotive OEMs from hofer powertrain’s new UK manufacturing facility.

hofer powertrain is a global leader in powertrain technologies and the manufacture of a class leading hybrid transmission in the UK is a natural progression for the company. The project has already led to an escalation in enquiries from both local and global customers that require the design and production supply of advanced powertrain products.

WMG brings its expertise in power electronics and electric drives to the project. As well as supporting system development and test protocols, WMG is conducting research on increasing the power density of these in the future using wide bandgap semiconductor switching technologies.

Overall the project brings a welcome boost to automotive component production and system supply in the UK and will be set to benefit from future opportunities.

The UK automotive industry is of strategic importance to the UK. It accounts for 163,000 jobs in over 2,800 businesses accounting for 6.2 per cent of manufacturing employment and 8.9 per cent of manufacturing gross value added. In recent years, the industry has seen its fortunes transformed, and has now grown to become the 4th largest automotive producer in Europe and 13th globally. Critical for this success have been improvements in UK competitiveness, significant inward investment into the UK industry and a strong partnership between the industry and the Government.

hofer powertrain UK is in the final stages of securing a manufacturing facility that will start up with the employment of 25+ specialist manufacturing staff. It is estimated that due to the growth of hofer in the UK, the supply chain and local infrastructures will benefit by over 200 jobs created or retained.

As well as benefiting the UK economy with new jobs and products it is estimated that by 2022 the technology will reduce vehicle CO2 emissions by tens of thousands of Tonnes.

Johann Hofer:

This project is very exciting for hofer powertrain, as it allows us to bring our significant experience of electrical, mechanical and software system design and production to the UK market place; working with leading companies to create a unique hofer product portfolio for manufacture in the UK. The success of this project and the interest we are receiving from the automotive OEMs, confirms that we took the correct decision when deciding to be part of this project.

David Greenwood: Professor of Advanced Propulsion Systems at WMG, the University of Warwick, said:

The high power density requirements for this project pose an exciting technical challenge which is well aligned with WMG research in this field. Together with Richard McMahon (Professor of Power Electronic Systems) and Phil Mawby (Professor of Power Electronics), I look forward to helping keep the UK at the industrial and academic forefronts of this rapidly developing field.

Jon Beasley: Director of Technology and Project at the Advanced Propulsion Centre said:

The APC works with organisations to enable them to realise opportunities in the UK. We help to match public and private investment in advanced industrial research that drives innovation in low carbon propulsion technologies while helping to anchor and grow UK capabilities. The hofer project is a fantastic example of all of these things working together to keep the UK at the forefront of Low Carbon Automotive industrial development.

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