The importance of supply chain companies in the APC’s recently announced £100 million low CO₂ funding competition

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has recently announced a funding competition, APC 3, of up to £100 million for projects that deliver significant reductions in vehicle CO2 or other emissions, compared to current best-in-class technologies.

APC 3 projects must be collaborative and business-led and include a vehicle manufacturer or a tier 1 supplier and an SME partner. They must also develop the UK’s supply chain in the field of low carbon vehicle propulsion technology. The competition will fund the development of on-vehicle technologies – for either on-road or off-highway vehicles.

So why does this competition require a partner in the supply chain? The UK automotive industry is enjoying an unprecedented period of success at the moment, but there are still many opportunities for UK supply chain companies to grow, and funding competitions such as APC 3 are designed to stimulate the development of automotive suppliers.

Opportunities for the growth of the UK automotive supply chain have been highlighted in two reports. The most recent of these, a new Automotive Council report highlighting a £2 billion opportunity for ‘upstream’ UK automotive supply chain firms to grow their businesses, was launched at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) Open Forum which took place in Solihull on 4 November 2014.

The £2 billion figure comes on top of £3 billion identified last year for supply direct to vehicle manufacturers, on which progress is being made. Local-sourcing benefits include lower logistics costs, greater flexibility and faster response times.

Currently around one third of the components in a UK-built vehicle are sourced in the UK. The report identifies a realistic aim to increase this local content to around 60% – similar to other European countries such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Developing a globally competitive UK automotive supply chain is one of the core aims of the Automotive Council’s industrial strategy, published last year.