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    Industry News: Niche Vehicle Feasibility Competition Winners Announced

    15 businesses have been successful in receiving grant funding from the Niche Vehicle Network run competition, supported by Innovate UK and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV)…

    The winners – including one project from the North West – each securing up to £8,000 investment for low carbon vehicle feasibility projects in the niche vehicle sector, were announced at the Niche Vehicle Network Member’s Forum.

    Winning feasibility projects include investigations into:

    • An aerodynamic, passive battery-cooling floor pan for an innovative electric performance sports car
    • The use of braided composites for lightweight crash structures
    • A high voltage, high current electronic fuse for electric vehicle battery systems
    • A lightweight composite bell-housing for niche powertrains
    • Cost reductions from tubular chassis tooling and laser cutting operations
    • The development of a lightweight, high energy density, swappable battery pack
    • The development of a fully electric single seater road car
    • The platooning of autonomous PODs for aerodynamic and power improvements

    All projects will receive 75% of their project costs, and cover the balance of the costs with their own resources.

    Further details of all successful projects can be found on the Niche Vehicle Network website at

    The Niche Vehicle Network provides innovation and networking support to UK low volume vehicle manufacturers, such as premium brand sports cars and specialist commercial vehicles, and their suppliers.

    Announcing the winners at the Niche Vehicle Network Member’s Forum today, Dr Viv Stephens, Network Director, said: “Our short-term feasibility study programme is playing a vital role supporting UK engineering innovation. In the global automotive sector, highly creative and dynamic niche businesses are sometimes overlooked, and our three-month funding packages, provide important support to early market R&D projects such as these. This funding, provided by Innovate UK and OLEV, offers a helping hand towards commercialisation for many SME’s, who otherwise may struggle to make their innovative ideas a reality.”

    Neale Ryan, Portfolio Manager – Low Carbon Vehicles at Innovate UK said “Innovate UK is delighted to continue our long-standing support for the niche vehicle sector via the NVN and we look forward to seeing the results of these projects in early 2017.”

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham