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Low Carbon Technology Revolution

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A £29million collaborative R&D project led by WMG, at the University of Warwick, is set to shape the future of passenger transport. This ground-breaking West Midlands based Low Carbon Vehicle Technology project will ensure Britain’s place at the heart of the low carbon vehicle technology revolution. The aim is to develop and validate a range of new technologies, which will result in the significant reduction of CO2 emissions from automotive vehicles.

Investment for the project comes from Advantage West Midlands, the European Regional Development Fund and industry. Fifteen workstreams will be delivered by the project partners alongside WMG; Jaguar Land Rover, TATA Motors, Ricardo and Zytek. Three other research organisations with leading-edge expertise will also be actively involved; namely Coventry University, MIRA and Cranfield University. The project has secured active participation from forward-thinking businesses across the UK, experts in their chosen field, to work alongside the partners to develop tangible, market ready technologies.

WMG is leading on three workstreams: Power Electronics, Lightweight Structures and Human Machine Interface (HMI). For many years WMG has been at the forefront of using new materials, challenging conventional thinking to help business and industry develop innovative products. Concerns about the environment and use of natural resources have been embedded in its research for many years. Driven by a research team which combines both industrial and academic experience, WMG’s research expertise will ensure delivery of innovative solutions for both partners and the project.

Research into power electronics will involve selection, testing and life performance of suitable cells and a battery management system (BMS), to provide packs for validation platforms, plus the development of optimised modules and concept pack layouts.

The new architecture associated with hybrid and electric vehicles offers considerable opportunities for reducing overall vehicle weight and improving fuel economy, whilst maintaining desired levels of vehicle handling. This workstream will research, develop and test alternative exterior and interior vehicle structures working towards a 20% reduction in vehicle weight of an electric vehicle compared to one designed with conventional materials technology.

The HMI workstream will develop evaluation processes for the in-vehicle customer trialling of HMI solutions, with specific focus on new and unfamiliar technologies and environments. It will also help identify appropriate HMI solutions (whether they are existing automotive, existing non-automotive or new concepts) for the specific requirements of future LCVs and their drivers - see HMI details.

John O’Connor, Low Carbon Vehicle Technology Project Director said ”The Low Carbon Vehicle Technology Project will accelerate the availability of application-ready low and ultra-low carbon technology, resulting in faster to market production vehicles, delivering economic benefits to the West Midlands region and strengthening the UK low carbon automotive supply chain. WMG is pleased to be an integral part of this initiative which is both promoting the automotive industry and accelerating research into low carbon technologies”.

The first prototypes should be ready by 2012, with full manufacture of vehicles featuring low carbon technologies by 2013/14.

For more information on the project visit the Low Carbon Project site or contact John O’Connor, J.O-Connor@warwick.ac.uk