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£73.5m UK scheme will develop tech for future EVs

25 June, 2020

The UK government is investing £73.5m in ten projects to develop cutting-edge technologies for the next generation of electric vehicles (EVs), including high-efficiency axial-flux electric motors and power electronics.

The funding will help the automotive sector to recover from the coronavirus pandemic by safeguarding more than 14,000 UK research and manufacturing jobs. It will also enable the production of more low-emission cars, commercial vehicles and components in the UK. The successful projects were chosen by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), which aims to maintain the UK as a centre of excellence for the r&d of low-carbon vehicle technologies.

“Not only will this funding ensure automotive companies can play their part in keeping us on the path to net zero emissions by 2050, it will also support thousands of jobs and be a welcome step towards the industry’s economic recovery,” said business minister Nadhim Zahawi, announcing the investment.

In one of the projects (called Revo), the Northumbrian motor developer and manufacturer Avid Technology is leading a project with Warwick University and the Welding Institute to develop and deliver a next-generation axial-flux motor, and a manufacturing process for producing lighter, more efficient EV powertrains of the future. The project will embed motor simulation and design and volume manufacturing, with the new manufacturing process capable of producing up to 100,000 motors a year on a line at Avid’s Cramlington site.

In a second collaborative r&d project, a consortium led by Sheffield-based Magnetic Systems Technology (Magtec) will develop technologies for producing traction motors for the commercial vehicle market. The consortium – including Dennis Eagle, Paneltex, Volta Trucks and Angel Trains – will ensure that the manufacturing processes are repeatable and robust. The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield will contribute their expertise on innovative manufacturing processes and assembly methods.

A third project (called Hi-Vibes), led by Jaguar Land Rover, will deliver pioneering power electronics to support JLR’s growing portfolio of electrified products. Working with academics from the University of Nottingham and industry partners Lyra Electronics and Pektron, the project will create integrated power electronics for future JLR battery electric vehicles, with the aim of achieving significant cost, weight and packaging benefits.

Avid Technology already has an expertise in designing and building axial-flux electric motors

In a separate project (called Zeus), JLR will work with Delta Motorsport, Marelli Automotive Systems and UKBIC to develop a prototype hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The aim is to deliver a zero-tailpipe-emissions fuel cell SUV concept with a long range, off-road and towing capabilities, and good low-temperature performance.

Other companies benefitting from the £73.5m funding include Ford, BMW Motorsport, Cummins Turbo Technologies, McLaren and the London Electric Vehicle Company, which manufactures electric taxis.

Over an initial ten-year lifespan, the Advanced Propulsion Centre has a goal of cutting CO2 emissions from the UK automotive sector by 50 million tonnes. It will facilitate the relationship between the UK government and companies leading UK-based projects aimed at advancing low-carbon automotive technologies.

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