The Advanced Propulsion Centra (APC) is managing more than £54m in new government funding, to be split across projects developing hydrogen fuel cells for buses, HGV-specific lightweight electrified powertrain, and integrating motorsport-derived technology into high efficiency motors for vans. According to the APC, the projects will secure nearly 10,000 UK jobs.
The Meritor-led lightweight EV drivetrain for HGVs project in Wales will receive £31.9m of the funding, which will also help build a new technology centre in Scotland. The project aims to integrate the electric motor, inverter, gearbox, differential and brakes into a single lightweight system suitable for vehicles up to 44 tonnes, including suitability for coaches, off-highway and construction vehicles.
£11.2m will be attributed to helping develop and manufacture low-cost hydrogen fuel cell technology, and establish a Wrightbus centre of excellent in Ballymena. The programme is said to help reduce production cost and enable higher volume.
Finally, £11.3 will be utilised by Shield Manufacturing Technologies for the development and manufacture of an advanced energy recovery system with integrated e-axle and motor. The lightweight technology will help improve efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions of vans. The scalable project will lead to the opening of three new manufacturing centres across the UK.
APC chief executive, Ian Constance, said, “From fuel cell technology for buses, designed and built in Ballymena, a lightweight electric powertrain for commercial vehicles developed and manufactured in Wales and an integrated motor and energy recovery systems system for cars and vans based on motorsport technology in Warwickshire, today’s announcement secures and creates nearly 10,000 jobs and will cut CO2 emissions equivalent to removing the lifetime emissions of nearly 1.8 million cars.”
John Bennett, Meritor vice president and chief technology officer, added, “With this award, our consortium will develop a game-changing electric powertrain for heavy-duty 4×2 and 6×2 vehicles up to 44 tonnes. This technology will provide commercial vehicle OEMs with the optimal solution to meet EU 2025 CO2 reduction targets, in addition to a host of other product benefits including greater efficiency, reduced weight, longer-range capability, and far greater application flexibility when compared to existing systems.’”