Funding has been awarded to eleven low-volume vehicle manufacturers for projects including EV systems, lightweight vehicle structures and hybrid range extender technology. The awards were made at the R&D funding competition that forms part of the Niche Vehicle Network's (NVN) annual Low Carbon Vehicle Event.
NVN also used the industry event at the motor industry's Millwood testing site to showcase nine examples of completed projects from last year’s competition — thirteen projects received funding from NVN last year, an overall investment of £1.15m, including:
- An electric sports car by the Morgan Motor Company
- Caged Laser Engineering’s lightweight titanium chassis
- The novel EV Blue driver control interface
- Agility Global’s prototype transmission for an electric motorcycle
- Performance Engineering Solution’s development of environmentally friendly lightweight composite materials
- The Hyperdrive intelligent energy management system
- Causeway’s low-cost composite tooling system
- A retro-fit micro-hybrid start/stop system developed by Pi Innovo
- Zytek Automotive’s lightweight high-performance hybrid battery solution
All projects supported under the Niche Vehicle Network Collaborative R&D Programme receive 50 per cent of their eligible costs — the balance of the project costs are funded from their own resources. All projects are collaborations between two or more UK companies active in the niche vehicle sector and are designed to be completed within a six-month time-scale.
Since its launch in 2005, NVN has continued to promote and stimulate collaborative research and development projects within niche vehicle SMEs with the support of Technology Strategy Board, the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). NVN has been a catalyst for more than 105 business collaborations and has facilitated the development of both prototype vehicles and process improvement projects.
Dr Viv Stephens, NVN programme director, said: “The Network’s R&D competition aims to accelerate the development of cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles through reduced weight, the adoption of more efficient propulsion systems, as well as the use of alternative fuels and improved aerodynamics.
“Our members continue to be at the heart of technology development, often leading the way with innovative thinking and pioneering engineering techniques. The NVN continues to play a vital role in fostering collaboration between organisations as well as providing assistance with project funding for network members.”