Low carbon vehicle technology competition winners announced at LCV 2018

The winners securing a share of a recent £3 million investment for low carbon development and demonstration projects in the niche vehicle sector have been announced at LCV 2018.

Thirty projects have been successful in receiving grant funding from the Niche Vehicle Network competitions, collectively supported by Innovate UK, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

Winning projects include:

  • Development of a first-of-a-kind integration of an efficient heating and cooling system for buses with a zero-emission fuel cell system
  • Design and manufacture of a prototype hybrid motorcycle, using AIE’s Wankel powertrain
  • Design, development and testing of an electric autonomous off-highway vehicle
  • Demonstration of the technical and commercial feasibility of an innovative floor pan for passive forced air cooling of EV battery packs
  • Production of a lightweight composite automotive coil spring
  • Transfer of technology from the niche vehicle sector into the electrified cycle market
  • The development of titanium brake calipers using waste titanium
  • The creation of graphene enhanced composite body panels
  • The demonstration of Active Charge Cooling for boosted IC engines
  • The development and testing of thermal energy storage systems within buses

All of the projects will receive 50% of their project costs and will cover the balance of the project costs with their own resources. All of the projects are collaborative between at least three UK-based companies active in the low carbon vehicle technology sector.

The Niche Vehicle Network provides support for innovation and new product development to UK low volume vehicle manufacturers – including those producing premium brand sports cars, specialist commercial vehicles and motorcycles – working with specialist suppliers and technology companies.

Funds of £2 million have been awarded for early market low carbon technology demonstration projects through the Niche Vehicle R&D Competition and a further £1 million to establish specialised UK manufacturing capability and supply chains for new products via the SME Production Readiness Competition.

Announcing the winners at LCV 2018 today Paul Gadd, Head of Automotive at Innovate UK, said:

The breadth and quality of NVNs R&D projects continues to be outstanding. They are a testament to a sector which always delivers and one where innovation is at the core of its growing success. Innovate UK is proud to support this years’ projects and looks forward to their development over the next 6 months.

Jon Beasley, Director – Technology and Projects at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, announcing the winners for the Production readiness competition, added:

Members of the Niche Vehicle Network, and SMEs generally, are hugely important to the success of the UK automotive industry. Their speed of development and flexibility regarding implementation allow for the availability of technologies to be accelerated to market compared with conventional development cycles. The opportunity to demonstrate real world applications through specialised or niche vehicles provides invaluable market feedback and knowledge that can be used to support products for future higher volume applications and markets.

Programme Director for the Network, Viv Stephens, said:

We have had a tremendous response to this year’s R&D competition, and we are able to support over 20 collaborative innovation projects. There is a clear trend towards powertrain electrification, and weight reduction as an enabler to increasing electric vehicle range – both areas where the niche sector will continue to take a lead. We are seeing niche companies taking these technologies into a wide range of vehicle applications, and diversifying into other transport sectors. These are exciting times and the ongoing support of our sponsors is critical to maximising the growth of the niche vehicle sector.

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