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WMG part of a £37m project to develop lightweight vehicles

  • · £18.7m government funding supports lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures, providing greater efficiency for low carbon vehicles
  • · The project will create 518 new job, safeguard 50 jobs, and upskill 308 people
  • · The CO2 benefit of the project between 2023-2032, will be 4.5 million tonnes
  • · Part of a 10-year programme to make the UK a world-leader in low carbon technology through the modern Industrial Strategy

The Automotive Composites Research Centre at WMG, University of WarwickA new research project, Tucana, will focus on lighweighting technology, delivering stiffer and lighter vehicle structures with the help of experts from WMG, at the University of Warwick.

The research will develop world-leading cost effective, scalable carbon fibre composite solutions, with the view to boosting the performance of electric vehicles. The CO2 benefit of the project between 2023-2032, will be 4.5 million tonnes.

WMG will receive £4m, of the £18.7m government funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), to drive the development of innovative lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures, building on the UK’s leading-edge capability in this area.

Project Tucana will allow the true environmental credentials of electric vehicles to be realised by enabling wider adoption. Tucana will deliver this step-change by addressing structural performance at a design, material and volume manufacturing-level which is currently unmet across the industry.

As part of the project WMG will manufacture the carbon fibre components, in their new Materials Engineering Centre which will has dedicated facilities for composite and hybrid structures. To gather the material optimisation and characterisation WMG experts, led by Professor Ken Kendall, will trial the manufactured materials on their newly installed composite materials processing equipment (which received £1.3m funding from the WMG centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult).

Tucana, brings together a consortium of world-leading academic and industry partners. Led by Jaguar Land Rover, other partners in the project are Expert Tooling & Automation Limited, Broetje-Automation UK Ltd, Toray International U.K. Limited, CCP Gransden Lltd, and Magna Exteriors (Banbury) Limited.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman and Founder of WMG, University of Warwick comments, “It is vital that research and development, in the automotive sector, supports the UK’s Industrial Strategy and the move towards increasing the number of electric vehicles. I am delighted that WMG’s contribution to the project will help in establishing a world class UK supply chain for materials and manufacture for the lightweighting of vehicles.”

Professor Dr. Gero Kempf, Chief Engineer, Jaguar Land Rover said, “With the grant awarded to Project Tucana, we can take an industry leading role in the development of next generation technologies specifically, lightweight body structures. Together with industry experts and academia we will collaboratively deliver innovative carbon fibre solutions, achieving a performance that will further enhance driver experience for future premium electric vehicles.”

Ian Constance, Chief Executive of the APC, said: “The development of low carbon vehicle technology is a crucial part of the future success of the UK automotive industry. The tenth instalment of APC funding, and the innovations it will support, will help further establish the UK as a leading destination for the development of low carbon propulsion technology. Lightweighting technology is a major part of improving the efficiency and desirability of next generation low and zero emission capable vehicles and an important part of our portfolio.”

Professor Ken Kendall, WMG added "The funding obtained from WMG centre HVM Catapult for the composite materials processing equipment directly strengthened and supported our winning bid to the APC, allowing us to remain at the cutting edge of lightweight automotive composite manufacture."


20 September 2018

Notes to editors:

For further information, please contact:

Lisa Barwick, Head of Marketing and Communications, WMG,

University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845


WMG, University of Warwick

WMG is a world leading research and education group and an academic department of the University of Warwick, established by Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 in order to reinvigorate UK manufacturing through the application of cutting edge research and effective knowledge transfer.

WMG has pioneered an international model for working with industry, commerce and public sectors and holds a unique position between academia and industry. The Group’s strength is to provide companies with the opportunity to gain a competitive edge by understanding a company’s strategy and working in partnership with them to create, through multidisciplinary research, ground-breaking products, processes and services.

The WMG centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult is one of the founding members of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The HVM Catapult is focused on advanced manufacturing, with 7 centres across the UK, each with their own specialisms. The WMG centre HVM Catapult focuses on providing solutions for Low Carbon Mobility. We deliver value to UK manufacturing by de-risking innovation in Lightweighting; Advanced Propulsion Systems; Intelligent Vehicles; Energy Storage and Management. Working with transport sector partners in automotive, commercial, off-road (agricultural and construction), rail and marine, the WMG centre HVM is enabling and accelerating the development of new technologies, products and processes.

Every year WMG provides education and training to schoolchildren through to senior executives. There is a growing part-time undergraduate programme for apprentices, as well as full-time undergraduates. The postgraduate programmes have over 2,000 students, in the UK and through centres in China, India, Thailand, South Africa and Malaysia.

Advance Propulsion Centre

Our job is to ensure the UK remains competitive in the research, development and production of low carbon automotive technologies, anchoring and growing UK capabilities.

Through a team of hand-picked specialists we introduce those with good ideas to those who can take them to market, providing mentoring and access to funding along the way.

Born out of the collaboration between UK Government and industry, our organisation aims to save 50 million tonnes of CO2, safeguard or create 30,000 jobs in the UK and make £1 billion of match funding, committed by industry and government, available to research and develop low carbon automotive technologies in the UK.

We are now half way through a ten-year programme launched in 2013, and well on our way to achieving our targets. Our tenth competition represent investments of £715 million investment across 41 projects made up of 151 organisations in consortia partnerships, safeguarding or creating a potential 23,847 jobs in the UK, saving a potential 39.2 million tonnes CO2. This is the equivalent of removing 2.2 million cars from UK roads.