SMEs represent the North East of England in Japan

When the JSAE Spring Congress in Yokohama opens its doors to the Japanese automotive industry tomorrow (23-25 May), companies from across Britain will represent their country at the UK Pavilion. Among these, there will be a strong representation from the North East of England.

While the West Midlands is often considered the heartland of the UK automotive industry, the North East is one of the country’s most productive and vibrant areas. Known historically for its shipbuilding, car manufacturing came to the area in 1986, when Nissan opened a new production facility in Sunderland.

Today, Nissan’s Sunderland facility produces around 500,000 new cars a year, which is on a par with Poland’s entire car manufacturing sector. As well as cars, Nissan engines and batteries are produced in Sunderland while, 30 miles south in Darlington, Cummins produces engines for commercial vehicles.

In recent years, the region’s manufacturing might has helped a number of automotive SMEs develop and thrive in the North East. A number of these companies will be at the JSAE Spring Congress, with the aim of building and strengthening relationships with the Japanese automotive industry.

Hyperdrive, based in Sunderland, is the first company to repackage Nissan’s battery cells for use in bespoke high performance applications. Earlier this year, it also completed an APC-funded project with Nissan, the University of Newcastle, Zero Carbon Futures and Warwick Manufacturing Group, to develop a new production process for the high energy density battery that is fitted to the Nissan Leaf and used in Hyperdrive’s applications.

In Blaydon-on-Tyne, Advanced Electric Machines has developed a sustainable electric motor. The revolutionary design removes the need for both the magnet and copper coil from the motor, meaning it is lighter and doesn’t rely on energy-intensive rare earth metal mining.

Meanwhile, Cramlington-based AVID Technology’s electric and hybrid powertrain systems can be found in almost every low emissions bus and truck currently manufactured in Europe, as well as a number of supercars. In Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Dontyne’s Gear Production Suite programme helps manufacturers achieve optimum design, machine and inspection of transmission gears.

Helping to represent the area’s wider automotive industry is the North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), which is a not-for-profit, industry-led group of more than 230 clusters established to support sustainable economic growth and competitiveness in the North East of England. It will be at the UK Pavilion to publicise members’ businesses and the region’s capabilities on a global level.

The UK Pavilion at the JSAE Spring Congress 2018 is organised by the Advanced Propulsion Centre.