Event Review: High Performance, Low Carbon Day, 15 May 2014, Millbrook Proving Ground – including news about the important new APC
The High Performance, Low Carbon Day comprised of two sections; firstly an opportunity for companies developing new low carbon automotive technology to present about their products, and secondly, there were updates from support organisations, most notably the significant new Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), about which all North West automotive companies should be aware
There were also vehicles on display, including the single-seater, road legal Mono from NAA member BAC, which has had carbon ceramic brakes developed by NAA Business Excellence Member Surface Transforms as part of a Niche Vehicle Network project. Relative to its high performance, the BAC Mono can claim to be ‘low carbon’ due to its light weight.
The morning of the event saw ‘Dragon’s Den’-style presentations, to attract sales and/or investment, from companies developing new technology in the areas of four strategic technologies:
- Internal Combustion Engines
- Electric Motors and Power Electronics
- Energy Storage and Energy Management
- Lightweight Vehicles and Powertrain Structures
These presentations highlighted the range of innovative companies and products that exist in the UK that can help to lower emissions of vehicles.
Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC)
As a very relevant link to such strategic technologies as those above, one of the most significant presentations of the afternoon was about the new Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), given by CEO Tony Pixton. This was one of the first opportunities for the audience to hear an update about the very important new organisation.
The APC – a 10 year, £1bn project, with £500m funded by industry, and £500m funded by government – will build UK automotive industry capability through the research, development and industrialisation of new low carbon vehicle technology. Its aim is to position the UK as the global centre of low carbon powertrain development and production, and to bridge the ‘valley of death’ that has been talked about so often in automotive conferences over recent years, ie. the stages between an innovative idea and its commercialisation.
The APC was formed from analysis by the Automotive Council as part of its work on industrial strategy, and is the centrepiece of the joint industry and government strategy for the automotive sector. This is an industry-led opportunity for the UK to become a world leader in advanced propulsion techniques. The strategy builds on the success that the UK automotive industry already enjoys. It aims to make the sector’s long term future more secure, grow the UK share of the value chain and secure strong global competitive positions in low carbon research and development (R&D) and in premium and niche vehicles.
The APC scope includes the high-value areas of advanced internal combustion engines, electric machines and power electronics, lightweight powertrain structures and energy storage and energy management.
The APC will:
- Invest in promising products, processes and people over the next 10 years
- Encourage collaboration between SMEs, vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers
- Enable advanced propulsion technologies to be ready for on and off road applications: turning technologies into products
- Support technology developers to drive innovation
- Enable projects that drive investment in the UK
- Embed expertise and know-how
- Work with existing providers to deliver a complete propulsion development infrastructure
- Act as a channel for communication and implementation of the strategies and road maps of the Automotive Council
It will be of particular interest to North West companies that the APC will be relevant to the whole of the UK. It is company neutral, technology agnostic and open to all. It is not seeking to develop a motor valley or powertrain roundabout, but rather a ‘propulsion nation’. Therefore a hub and spoke approach is being used to achieve the best coverage of the organisation, with satellite locations where expertise-led activity requires them.
A website for the APC is coming soon.