Low carbon vehicle technology R&D competitions winners announced at LCV 2019

The winners securing a share of a £2.5 million investment for low carbon development and demonstration projects in the UK niche vehicle sector have been announced at LCV 2019.

14 new R&D projects seeking innovative solutions at the leading edge of electrification, autonomy, lightweight materials and advanced aerodynamics, have been successful in receiving grant funding from the Niche Vehicle Network competition, collectively supported by Innovate UK, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

Winning projects:

  • Motorcycle Instant Top-Up Battery System – the first modular battery system with quick change capability for use in a motorcycle
  • Lightweight Electric Cycle – a step change in Pedelec integration and rider controls delivering a 40% weight reduction
  • Recycled Carbon Fibre Composite Body Panels – demonstrated on the vehicle roof and tailgate of an electric hearse
  • Reduced Induction Field Torque Drive – electric motor configuration that reduces the material and manufacturing cost of electric motors by up to 80%
  • All Composite Reduced Inertia Modular Wheels – lightweight, optimised wheels that can improve efficiency by up to 10%
  • High Power Density E-Powertrain – development from E Classic – electrification of a Mini with scope to cover light commercial vehicles
  • Project 356 – integrated chassis platform, utilising battery modules and drivetrain components to eliminate the requirement for a stand-alone battery enclosure
  • Cargo POD – electric, inwheel powered, autonomous cargo pod with AI control system to optimise the use of Lithium and Carbon Ion power
  • Articulating Lightweight Electric Cargo Solution – a lightweight, zero emission, last mile delivery e-trike
  • Low Cost 48v Mild Hybrid Powertrain – integration of a mild hybrid system for low volume road-car applications with future motorsport application
  • Revolutionary Aerodynamic Motorcycle Design – enhanced range, stability and potential for heat exchanger cooling on next generation electric motorcycles
  • Battery Passport – equivalent to an odometer for EV batteries to show battery health at the point of recycling / re-purposing, reducing cost and EV CO2 footprint
  • 11 Tonne Electric Drive Axle – for use in development of a Plug-In Hybrid Refuse Collection Vehicle
  • Hybrid Titanium Carbon Fibre Road Wheel – providing a 50% reduction in inertia and the potential to improve overall vehicle efficiencies by 3-5%

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 projects are collaborative between at least three UK-based companies, with the lead company a UK SME or Micro company active in the UK low carbon niche vehicle technology sector.

Grants have been awarded to UK niche vehicle manufacturers and associated design and engineering companies to undertake R&D of early market low carbon technology Proof of Concept projects and for UK SMEs and their supply chains, to take existing low carbon vehicle technologies from demonstration through to Production Readiness.

Announcing the winners at LCV 2019 today David Tozer, Head of Land Transport at Innovate UK, said:

The breadth of innovation awarded funding by the Niche Vehicle Network is testament to a hugely dynamic and forward thinking sector. High quality projects covering everything from battery innovation, hybridisation, lightweighting and electric motors showcase the best the niche sector has to offer. It also continues to build what is a strong pipeline of technology development in support of the UK’s future of mobility. I wish the projects every success and look forward seeing the outputs next year.

Jon Beasley, Director of Technology and Projects at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, congratulating the winners of the Production Readiness awards, added:

We continue to see that members of the Niche Vehicle Network, and SMEs generally, contribute to the success of the UK automotive industry. Their speed of development, lower restriction regarding legacy programmes and flexibility regarding market implementation allow for the new technologies to be accelerated to market compared with generally shorter 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 Niche Vehicle Network, Dr Viv Stephens, said:

LCV is the ideal event at which to announce the winners of our annual R&D funding competition. Being presented with grant cheques from our sponsors is a great experience and is part of the inspiration that will drive these projects to develop leading edge technology, and then bring their prototypes here next year to demonstrate their success.

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