NORTH WEST-LED CONSORTIUM WINS FUNDING FOR ‘CAR FOR YOUNG DRIVERS’ PROJECT
Consortium is successful in winning funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and the Technology Strategy Board to develop an innovative new car that will be affordable for young drivers to buy, insure and run
Car for Young Drivers.
Over recent years it has become increasingly expensive for young drivers to obtain insurance premiums for cars. In July 2012, the Daily Mail reported that the average car insurance premium for male drivers aged 17-22 was £2,792. Over 750,000 people pass their driving test in the UK every year so there is a huge opportunity for a vehicle that is designed specifically to attract low insurance premiums. Therefore mi Technology Group, Juno Racing, Oaktec, Gotec Vehicle Systems, the University of Central Lancashire and the Northwest Automotive Alliance (NAA) came together to bid for funding from the government’s Technology Strategy Board to develop a concept for a ‘Car for Young Drivers’.
The aim of the project is to alleviate the issues associated with getting young drivers safely integrated into the vehicle-owning and driving population. This will be achieved by creating a new type of car in consultation and with the support of the insurance industry. The car will be designed from first principles and will massively reduce risks for young drivers.
NEED FOR IMPROVEMENT
Insurance premiums for young drivers are becoming ever more expensive, therefore a revolutionary approach needs to be taken to create a new type of vehicle that young drivers can afford to purchase, insure and run. Major manufacturers primarily focus on mainstream volume cars and so there is an opportunity for the consortium to develop a car that specifically meets the needs of young drivers.
The ‘Car for Young Drivers’ project will produce a vehicle for two people that has novel hybrid driveline technology, a lightweight impact-resistant body and features designed specifically to appeal to and protect young drivers.
The vehicle will feature extremely safe construction and advanced occupant protection systems, it will be lightweight to minimise damage to other road users and reduce fuel consumption, and it will have an advanced, hybrid-electric engine for outstanding levels of economy and driveability, but limited ultimate performance. There will also be on-board monitoring and driver feedback systems.
The involvement of the Northwest Automotive Alliance Business Excellence Programme was crucial to the project’s success. The NAA helped to develop the consortium through its contact base and knowledge of key players who would fit in and provide valuable contributions. The NAA also used its experience of bid preparation to support the group of SMEs in the development of all the required documentation. The NAA continued to provide networking support and guidance throughout the project.
The consortium was successful in obtaining funding of £964,000 from the Technology Strategy Board to supplement investment of £990,000 from the consortium members. The project aims to develop a proof of concept in year three. The intention is to establish a new vehicle brand in the UK, with associated employment and economic benefits.
The North West-led initiative was one of 17 projects to receive funding – in total receiving more than £27 million of public funding, together with £29 million of private sector finance – to fund the development of low and ultra-low carbon technologies that will keep the UK industry at the forefront of the global low carbon agenda
Paul Andrews, a partner in consortium member Oaktec, says:
“After many years of being part of the low carbon vehicle community in the UK it’s excellent to be able to develop a new project as part of this consortium, with the help of funding from the government’s Technology Strategy Board. I believe that the involvement of the Northwest Automotive Alliance was a very important factor in the project being looked upon favourably by the TSB, and the NAA’s Business Excellence Programme has made a very valuable contribution to the project since it has started.”
CS-NORTH WEST-LED CONSORTIUM WINS FUNDING FOR ‘CAR FOR YOUNG DRIVERS’ PROJECT