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    NAA Event Review: Business Excellence Meeting, Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, Friday 12 June 2015

    The NAA held its last ever Business Excellence meeting at the 2015 Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, with speakers including Garry Wilson (APC), Simon Hucknall (Vauxhall), James Cross (EA Technology), Martina Rodrigues (NAA) and Carol Holden (NAA)…

    “The NAA event at the 2015 Cholmondeley Pageant of Power was excellent; the presentations conveyed the enthusiasm of the members, the diversity of the companies, and the innovation of the SMEs. The fact that you could listen to the speakers, enjoy some valuable networking, and then watch cars racing around the circuit afterwards made it even better!” Simon Malins, Industrial Programme Manager, University of Huddersfield

    “This was my third NAA meeting and my first visit to the Cholmondeley Pageant. Even the ‘background music’ during the presentations, provided by various revving racing machines, didn’t seem to unduly distract the audience. Combining the regular monthly meetings at these interesting venues – Bentley, BAC etc – certainly encourages attendance of a range of delegates which is vital for those all-important networking opportunities. Well done.” Keith Lancaster – Technical Sales (Thermal & Acoustic), Culimeta-Saveguard Ltd

    “Thank you for an enjoyable day. Count on my support for the NAA going forward.” Steve McKeown, Economic Growth & Competitiveness Manager, Knowsley MBC

    “I wanted to say a big thank you for the event on Friday which certainly ticked all the boxes in terms of informing, educating and providing opportunities. It was clear from those present and from the case studies that you and the group have provided fantastic support for business in this sector.” Keith Molloy, Enterprise Manager, South Ribble Borough Council

    The venue for the last ever NAA Business Excellence meeting was the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power. The Pageant of Power takes place on a country estate in Cheshire and the main focus is a diverse collection of vehicles racing around a circuit on the venue’s roads.

    It was therefore appropriate that a brief welcome was provided by James Hall, Director of the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, who gave a brief introduction about Cholmondeley and the event.

    Here’s a summary of the other presentations.

    Garry Wilson, Director – Business Development, Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC)

    Garry explained that the APC was a £1 billion, 10 year industry/government initiative to turn low carbon propulsion technology into products developed in the UK.

    The APC runs competitions for funding, twice per year, to assist organisations with developing low carbon automotive propulsion technology to bridge the ‘valley of death’ between Technology Readiness Levels 5-8 – ie. from prototype to mass production.

    Garry invited NAA members to consider applying for the APC competition that is currently open, or if the timescale is too tight, to start thinking about the APC5 competition which will open later in the year. The APC is looking to fund projects between £5m to £40m in value.

    All APC competitions need an SME involved, and they must have a route to market – so an OEM or Tier 1 supplier also needs to be in any collaboration.

    An example of a project from the first APC1 competition was the application of technology from motorsport for use on a truck/bus platform to result in a stop/start system.

    The APC is also engaging with SMEs that may have innovative technologies that are at a pre-TRL 5 stage through its TDAP initiative, in order to help them develop to the level required for APC competitions.

    Although the APC’s headquarters are at Warwick University, the aim is to build a ‘propulsion nation’ through APC spokes, creating linkages in low carbon propulsion capabilities.

    For more information, and to get involved with the APC, visit

    Simon Hucknall, Product & Heritage PR, Vauxhall

    Simon gave NAA members a tour through Vauxhall’s motorsport history, however he first reminded the audience that Vauxhall is the oldest car company in the UK; in fact it was first founded in 1852 when it made marine engines. Although the original base was at Vauxhall in South London, production began at Luton in 1905, and car manufacturing still continues at Ellesmere Port today, with the new Astra due to be launched imminently.

    Vauxhall was taken over by General Motors in 1925. GM didn’t support motorsport, however Vauxhall was involved in much activity in this area, which was funded through its dealer network. Perhaps one of Vauxhall’s best-known involvements in motorsport was with Touring Cars, where cars were raced at weekend, and the dealer network benefited from sales of road versions of the winning cars on the Monday.

    James Cross, EA Technology

    James Cross from Cheshire-based EA Technology gave a presentation about the ‘My Electric Avenue’ project. My Electric Avenue is an Ofgem-funded trial to see what happens when a cluster of electric cars in one street recharge at the same time. The project has recruited groups of neighbours to drive an all-electric Nissan LEAF for 18 months – 100 people in total – with an additional 100 people driving LEAFs as a ‘control group’. The project is now entering its dissemination phase and is starting to report on its findings – which include that in many of the trial locations, the local electricity network will struggle to provide sufficient capacity to charge a large number of electric vehicles at peak times.

    Thankfully My Electric Avenue has been testing an item of technology called ‘Esprit’, which switches the charging between different cars at times of peak load, in order to reduce the demand on the local network and so provide a solution to capacity problems. EA Technology is currently looking at options for follow-on projects to My Electric Avenue.

    Traditionally there has been R&D activity in the automotive sector, and in the energy sector. With My Electric Avenue, EA Technology has brought the two sectors together for the first time on such a project. If any NAA companies are interested in discussing opportunities for future projects in the area of automotive/energy, they should contact Dave Roberts at EA Technology at

    Find out more at

    Martina Rodrigues and Carol Holden from the NAA also gave presentations at Cholmondeley about the Business Excellence programme and the NAA Vision – please see separate article below.

    For a review of the 2015 Cholmondeley Pageant of Power click here [Link to:]

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