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UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to Award $45M to 16 Low-Carbon Vehicle Projects

The UK’s Technology Strategy Board has selected 16 projects to receive £23 million (US$45 million) in government investment through the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform. (Earlier post.) Including investments by the companies involved, the total value of the development projects will be £52 million (US$102 million).

The sixteen new research, development and demonstration projects represent the first investment by the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform since it was established in the autumn of 2007, and follows an open competition launched in September. The government investment is equally provided by the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Transport.

The projects to receive funding will be lead by a wide range of organizations from major manufacturers through to small and medium sized companies and University spin-offs.

Thirteen projects are confirmed as of today; these include:

Axon 60 : A structural carbon fibre car with plug-in hybrid option. The Axon 60 will use a globally patented structural carbon beam technology. A plug-in hybrid system will be used to explore the bounds of PHEV in light vehicle applications. The vehicle is light weight (less than 500 kg), low drag and is powered by a best practice 500 cc engine and Infinitely Variable Transmission (IVT).

Lead Organization: Axon Automotive; Consortium members: University of Warwick, Powertrain Technologies Ltd, Scott Bader Company Limited.

Hybrid Electric Technology for Transit Buses. This project will accelerate the production of a UK hybrid electric drive (HED) transit bus application and develop a UK center of excellence for HED application engineering in UK.

Lead Organization: BAE Systems; Consortium members: Alexander Dennis Ltd, University College London.

Li-ion Batteries for Plug-In HEVs. The project aims to improve the energy density of the low cost, very safe titanate/manganate Li-ion system by incrementally increasing the capacity of the active electrode materials whilst preserving their other characteristics.

Lead Organization: FiFe Batteries Limited; Consortium member: ABSL Power Solutions Limited.

Engine optimization for reduced parasitic losses. The project will investigate the application of various new technologies which seek to lower the losses due to internal friction of the engine plus other engine and gearbox related parasitic losses. The aim is to demonstrate an overall fuel economy improvement and thus CO2 reduction of between 5 and 10% on the European drive cycle.

Lead Organization: Ford Motor Company Ltd; Consortium members: MAHLE Powertrain Ltd, BP.

Commercial vehicle fuel and carbon reduction by the use of ‘aerospace aero’ devices. The project will develop a device fitted to commercial vehicles to significantly reduce fuel consumption and consequently carbon dioxide pollution. The intention is for the device to build on current systems and technology and move this forward into a new dimension that further utilizes developments from the aeronautical industries.

Lead Organization: Hatcher Components Limited; Consortium members: Mercedes Benz UK Ltd, Cranfield University.

Zero Emission London Taxi Commercialization. This project will initiate and accelerate the introduction of commercial fleets of zero-emission fuel cell hybrid taxis primarily for London by 2012 and for other cities by 2014. The project will develop and integrate robust, high efficiency, Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell hybrid powertrains into LTI TX4 taxis. The arduous duty cycle of the London taxi will be utilized to provide a platform for accelerated fuel cell vehicle lifecycle testing.

Lead Organization: Intelligent Energy; Consortium members: Lotus Cars Ltd, LTI Ltd, TRW Conekt

Flywheel Hybrid System for Premium Vehicles. This project will design and develop a mechanical hybrid (flywheel and variable drive system), kinetic energy recovery system for use in a premium segment passenger vehicle as an alternative, cost competitive solution to other hybrid systems. The project will demonstrate this within an existing vehicle platform to prove its effectiveness and viability for production and suitability for modular application.

Lead Organization: Jaguar Cars Limited; Consortium members: Flybrid Systems, Ford Motor Company Limited, Prodrive, Ricardo UK Ltd, Torotrak plc, Xtrac Ltd.

Limo-Green. This project will use Jaguar executive sedans, with their lightweight aluminium body structures, as a basis for proving out the concept of a large luxury vehicle with an advanced hybrid electric driveline, consisting of an advanced drive motor, small battery pack and a small auxiliary power generator for sustained cruising. The project aim is to demonstrate a vehicle with sub-120 gm/km whilst maintaining the “premiumness” of the vehicle.

Lead Organization: Jaguar Cars Ltd.; Consortium members: MIRA Ltd, Lotus Engineering, Caparo Vehicle Technologies.

Lower Cost, Light Weight Vehicles by Increasing the Use of Post Consumer Aluminium Scrap. This project will demonstrate the feasibility of manufacture within five years of a mass producible lightweight car based on a body in white (BIW) structure built using sustainable aluminium sheet derived in part from low cost energy efficient recycled post consumer scrap. The sheet manufacture will be based on world leading continuous casting technology and melt conditioning technology using high performance, low cost sheet cast from melts containing up to 75% of recycled material.

Lead Organization: JLR; Consortium members: Novelis Inc, Zyomax, Norton Aluminium, Innoval Technology, Brunel University, Stadco Ltd.

Range Extended Electric Vehicle (REHEV). This project will develop a modular electric and electric/diesel powertrain, suitable for several different vehicle types. This will be tested on a large premium sport utility platform delivering 120 to 130 g/km and zero emissions range of at least 12 miles. The project will also investigate range extension and plug-in charging and installation/ commissioning of local recharging facilities for vehicle trials within the EON fleet.

Lead Organization: Land Rover; Consortium members: Amberjac Projects Ltd, Ricardo UK Ltd, E.ON UK PLC.

High torque density electric drive for commercial vehicles (HiTED). This project will develop a novel brushless permanent magnet electrical machine incorporating integral magnetic gearing for traction use with hybrid trucks, buses and construction vehicles. The recently invented pseudo-direct-drive (PDD) has the highest torque density of any known electrical machine, according to the team, and has improved energy efficiency, requires only natural air cooling, and is more compact with low manufacturing cost. The project will provide and evaluate two demonstrators.

Lead Organization: Magnomatics Limited; Consortium members: Kollmorgen Corporation, Magnet Applications Ltd, Volvo Group.

2/4CAR 2/4-Stroke Switching Carbon Reduction Vehicle. The project will deliver a global premium vehicle demonstrating a 25 - 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions with no loss of performance using an innovative, highly-downsized gasoline engine with two-stroke/four-stroke switching technology. Laboratory work has shown that torque output more typical of an engine of twice the capacity is achievable. The engine design incorporates a cycle-switching valvetrain, an advanced boosting and control system, and will demonstrate powertrain integration and driveable control strategies.

Lead Organization: Ricardo UK Ltd; Consortium members University of Brighton, DENSO Sales UK Ltd, Jaguar Cars Ltd.

DESERVE, Develop high Energy battery + high power Supercaps for all Electric Range. The project will integrate, within a 3.5-tonne electric delivery van high energy Zebra batteries and high power supercapacitors. The project will look to maximize the respective energy and power capabilities of the two systems. A power electronic interface controller to optimize the performance of the combined storage system will also be developed. The project will also integrate the storage system within the vehicle and optimize vehicle performance. The targets being range 250 km, top speed 100 km/h, acceleration to 80 km/h in 18 sec.

Lead Organization: Tanfield Group plc; Consortium members: Beta Research and Development Ltd, The University of Manchester, Energy Technology Services.

In a related development, the Technology Strategy Board today announced its intention to launch in the Autumn 2008 a Low Carbon Vehicles Integrated Delivery Programme, stimulated by a further £70 million (US$137 million) of government investment. This programme will co-ordinate low carbon vehicle activity from initial research through to future procurement opportunities, speeding up the time it takes to get low carbon vehicle technologies into the market place.



UK’s Technology Strategy Board

I sounds like England and Japan are not afraid to "pick winners" in the race. Maybe some of our conservative politicians in the U.S. should get a clue and jump on board.


Yep... I think we all deserve a success in the aptly named DESERVE program. This small investment though is... er, small. Given the scope of world wide calamity that is climate dissolution. Then again, if we turned our weapons manufacturers into energy technology advocates like "Iron Man," the world would be a better place and we would not miss important birthdays!


I thought we'd already picked hydrogen and ethanol as the winners over here. Aren't you satisfied with the wisdom of those picks?

Harvey D

Many good news on the same page. Those R & D Projects are all worthwhile investments. Although somewhat under financed, it may provide the British manufacturing industries with doable next generation products.

Hope that many more (similar) rounds will come latter on.

Healthy Breaze

Many of these projects are (or resemble) things we've been reading about for many years. Almost all of them sounded cool the first time they were mentioned in Popular Science, or some such. Perhaps they will fair better than past realization efforts because they know what has gone before...or perhaps not.

It's good that the UK is stimulating a portfolio of low-carbon vehicle approaches...I'd just like to see massive overkill on the development efforts so that the cost, reliability, and effectiveness challenges can all be addressed concomitantly and brought to market soon.


GENEVA -- Top executives from General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. Tuesday expressed doubts about the viability of hydrogen fuel cells for mass-market production in the near term and suggested their companies are now betting that electric cars will prove to be a better way to reduce fuel consumption and cut tailpipe emissions on a large scale.

(So, I guess the Freedom Car is free to do what ever it wants, if anything.)


"Top executives from General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. Tuesday expressed doubts about the viability of hydrogen fuel cells for mass-market production in the near term ...electric cars will prove to be a better way to reduce fuel consumption and cut tailpipe emissions on a large scale."

finally, after many years and millions of taxpayer dollars, they wake up to reality. the hydrogen boondoggle should take an immediate backseat to PHEV and BEV efforts.


I think the awards show a lack of any planning.
The congestion charge introduced a market for BEV, then five years later they fund development of research into xEV - the cart is leading the horse.

I don't want money wasted on hydrogen - I winced when I saw the fuel cell taxi award above - but I would not use the statements of GM and Toyota as evidence. They have a self interest to proclaim the same given Honda's lead.

Harvey D

Fuel cells, as main power supply source for cars, may not be competitive for many years-decades to come.

Would a much reduced size unit, be a good replacement for ICE gensets, to extend the range of PHEVs, specially on heavier vehicles such as city and intercity buses, delivery and long range trucks, subways, trains etc?


Those Capstone buses get almost 10 mpg and cost $450k. If they have fuel cells they might get even more. If they had SOFCs with turbines and heat recovery they might get close to 20 mpg. Not bad for a bus that can transport 40 people.


"GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told reporters that recent advances in lithium-ion batteries indicate that future electric cars might be able to travel 300 miles, or nearly 500 kilometers, before they need to recharge..."

Well yeah since the Tesla already in production gets essentially that mileage. But it is clearly becoming the consensus that electrification will happen long before a H2 infrastructure can be built. So even the E-Flex FC looks like it'll be a curiosity for now.

Does Lutz have some kinda majestic potion endowing him with wisdom??


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The agony of all internal combustion engines, this is the situation for today.The future of lightweight cars is pure electric engines with battery packs. Not oxygen and hidrogen fuel cels, because every energy conversion has loses. Battery pack and electrical engine has efficiency about 80%.


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Paul McLachlan

Hydrogen will become a major component in a diverse energy economy. What has held up progress is the desire of the automotive OEMs to maintain business as usual (no change any time soon). This made the fuel cell very attractive because it was clearly a long term development and very likely only suitable for nice applications in the end. As for the ICE they have spent huge amounts on being able to convert the product they have to operate on hydrogen. However the conventional automotive engine is a fundamentally poor device for harnessing hydrogen combustion and no amount of development will make it ideal.

The Pivotal engine with its thermally smooth chamber surfaces and high power density is the best possible ICE for operating on hydrogen - particularly for mobility where it is finally being understood that reducing mass is the first rule of efficient transportation. An SUV uses around 2% of the thermal energy of the fuel to actually move a person from one part of town to another - light load operation =20% efficiency and 10% of the total weight is what we want to move (this represents a utility factor or coefficient).

Low mass Pivotalengine Hydrogen / CNG vehicles is the best way forward.

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