19 December 2013

Electric vehicle development in the North East has received another £900,000 boost with new funding from the Regional Growth Fund for five projects looking to make the technology more accessible.

The funding will create 104 new jobs in the region through the projects, which aim to make electric transport a viable option for more operators.

Dr Colin Herron, Managing Director of Zero Carbon Futures which oversees the fund, said, “The EV revolution is gathering pace, and the North East is becoming the hub of infrastructure development and subsequent EV adoption.

“It is vital for projects such to continue evolving innovative solutions that help integrate or improve low carbon vehicle technologies.”

The North East has already started to carve out a reputation as a region with particular expertise in electric vehicle development with the Future Technology Centre and hi-tech battery production located at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland.

Projects receiving funding include Route Monkey, which analyses electric vehicle usage patterns to help maximise residual values and make EVs more appealing to fleet managers.

AVID Technology is working on the development of improved fans and water pumps, while Seaward Electronics is working on an EV charging point tester with Teeside University.

Sevcon and Wolverine Tube receive money to fund low power inverters to improve efficiency of electric as well as conventionally-powered vehicles, while Hyperdrive is busy with data loggers and satellite-controllable ECUs.

Technology such as this is at the heart of the drive to lower carbon transportation, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said today.

Speaking at London’s Transport Museum she said, “Smart technology has enormous potential to improve the way we plan and deliver transport today, so we can keep Britain moving in a more manageable and sustainable way.

“By using data better, we can make better use of existing capacity. While we are making a record investment in our transport infrastructure, smart technologies give us new options to manage networks more efficiently.”

Transport News Brief recently looked at commercial operators’ attitudes to electric vehicles and how the technology could be made more attractive for them.