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£900k funding boost for North East’s push to become hub of low carbon vehicle technology development in the UK


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2013-12-11 13:00:21 - Innovative projects to generate jobs, develop EV technology efficiency and investigate improved infrastructure robustness

Five new initiatives that will develop innovative low carbon technologies have been announced. Based in North East England, the projects will receive £900k investment from the Collaborative Projects Fund, through the Regional Growth Fund, to work towards commercialising products and services that stimulate business growth and enable the country’s low carbon vehicle transition.

“This continued investment is great news for the companies directly affected, but crucial for the UK’s ability to develop a comprehensive infrastructure that supports the take-up of low carbon vehicles,” says Dr. Colin Herron, managing director of Zero Carbon Futures, which oversees the fund. “The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is gathering pace, and the North East is becoming a hub of infrastructure development and subsequent EV adoption.

It is vital for projects such as those supported by the Collaborative Projects Fund to continue evolving innovative solutions that help integrate or improve low carbon vehicle technologies.

“For example, one of the successful projects, led by Route Monkey, will develop a software package that analyzes usage patterns of EVs to help work out residual values and optimize the total cost of ownership,” continues Herron. “This will help make EVs appeal to fleet managers who are under increasing pressure to reduce the running costs and carbon footprint of their operations. As EVs are still a new technology there is currently very little information on the long-term value of vehicles and degradation of battery performance, but an accurate forecast of performance reduces leasing companies’ risk and future financing costs.”

The Government’s Regional Growth Fund is a £3.2 billion fund designed to help companies in England grow. So far, £2.6 billion of funding has been allocated to support projects and programmes committed to deliver sustainable jobs and economic growth.

The investment is a further boost for the region, which will soon be home to a centre of excellence for low carbon technologies. The Future Technology Centre, which is owned and managed by Zero Carbon Futures, will be open for business in early 2014 and will drive the UK’s transition to a low carbon future, laying the foundations for the country to fortify its position as a European leader in the development and implementation of these technologies.

“The latest round of funding allows the further development of research work carried out by Route Monkey and other innovative, collaborative projects,” says Colin Ferguson, Route Monkey chief executive officer. “This investment not only makes innovative ideas a reality, but generates new jobs and allows for sustained business growth.”

Route Monkey is working with Teesside University and Urban Foresight to deliver the innovative project, which will create 18 new jobs. The other four projects are:
- AVID Technology Group Ltd and Newcastle University are working to develop an improved DC fan and water pump with new motor and controller assembly, which will improve performance, reduce weight and costs. The project will create 46 direct new jobs.
- Seaward Electronics Ltd and Teesside University are to develop an EV charging point tester which would ensure safety, functionality and efficiency of commercial and domestic charging points. Eight new jobs will be created.
- Sevcon Ltd and Wolverine Tube are to model and develop a novel High Voltage Low Power Inverter for use in EVs that can also improve the efficiency of non-EVs. Twenty-five direct new jobs will be created by this research and development project.
- Hyperdrive and Wylam Professional Services (WPS) aims to develop products and associated engineering services in data loggers and GPRS enabled control ECUs for automotive, defense, marine and portable power applications. The project will generate three direct, and four indirect jobs.

The third bidding round of The Low Emission Transport Collaborative Projects Fund is now open with a total of £574,000 available for applicants. This is the final opportunity to bid for funding to undertake collaborative, near market research to bring new products to market to support the growth of the low emission transport sector in the North East. The deadline for submission is Friday 20th December 2013. For more details visit www.collaborativefund.org.uk

The fund is managed by Gateshead College and Zero Carbon Futures and administered by New Skills Consulting.

About the Collaborative Projects Fund
The fund provides grant funding to collaborative industry-research organization projects in the North East England. Its purpose is to stimulate business growth and development, and generate private sector jobs in the Low Emission Transport sector. The Low Emission Transport Collaborative Project Fund is part of a wider £6.2m Regional Growth Fund programme designed to boost the growth of the low carbon sector in the region.

About the Regional Growth Fund
The Regional Growth Fund is a £3.2 billion fund designed to help companies in England to grow. So far £2.6 billion of funding has been allocated to support projects and programmes committed to deliver sustainable jobs and economic growth. Round 5 closed on 9 December and selected bidders will be announced in the spring 2014. For more information, please go to www.bis.gov.uk/rgf.



Press Contact
Gareth Charlton at Market Engineering
+44 (0)1295 277 050
gareth.charlton@m-eng.com


Marketing Contact
Anya Bramich at Zero Carbon Futures
+44 (0) 191 490 2474
anya.bramich@gateshead.ac.uk


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High-resolution images are available at www.autopresspoint.comor from leanne.barton@m-eng.com





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