Why are the Advanced Propulsion Centre funding competitions collaborative?

The current Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) competition – which is inviting bids to access up to £100 million of funding for projects that deliver significant reductions in vehicle CO2 or other emissions – must be collaborative and business-led, and include a vehicle manufacturer or a tier 1 supplier and an SME partner. So why is there a requirement for such competitions to be collaborative?

At various conferences over recent years, industry experts have regularly pointed to the fact that the increasing success of the UK car industry has been hand-in-hand with closer working between the industry and government, as well as with increasing collaboration between different partners. Early-stage innovation can be too high risk for many small and medium-sized businesses to undertake without support, hence the benefits of OEMs and suppliers working together with funding assistance.

Many such successful collaborations to develop technology have previously come about through the Technology Strategy Board, now known as Innovate UK. Examples of such projects were on show over two years ago at the Cenex LCV2012 event, in the form of the Lotus Evora 414E, the Infiniti EMERG-E, and the Jaguar XJ-e plug-in hybrid – all three vehicles were developed as part of a Technology Strategy Board project called REEVolution. The projects brought together different organisations to work together in collaboration – in this case Axeon Technologies, EVO Electric, Xtrac, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus and Nissan, to work on next-generation components for plug-in vehicles.

Historically the likelihood of rival car companies working together in such a way was unheard of, but this collaborative approach has been seen as a huge success by all those involved in such projects.

Now that the Advanced Propulsion Centre has been established, there are four collaborative projects currently active and being supported by the APC following the organisation’s first open competition, as follows:

  • Ford and its partners are receiving a £13.1 million grant for a £100 million programme to upgrade the award-winning EcoBoost engine.
  • GKN Land Systems and its partners are receiving a £7.5 million grant as part of a £16 million project to apply motorsport energy recovery technology for use in buses using the Gyrodrive system.
  • Cummins and its partners are receiving a £4.9 million grant for a £9.9 million project to deliver significant reductions in carbon emissions from bus engines through the development of new stop-start diesel engine technology.
  • JCB and its partner Flybrid are receiving a £3.3 million grant as part of a £7.2 million project to apply Formula 1 technology for use in excavators.

If you have a concept for low carbon propulsion technology but don’t currently have a partner, then speak to the APC, as we may be able to put you in touch with potential collaborators.

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