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Ultra-low carbon vehicle demonstrator programme

The government has announced its support for the New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team’s (NAIGT) recommendations to maximise the opportunities presented by the transition to a low carbon agenda.

This includes the development of Test Bed UK – active support for a major demonstrator programme for ultra-low carbon vehicles.

The government has also committed to create an Automotive Council to strengthen engagement with industry and set a long-term plan for its development.

NAIGT, consisting of a cross-industry group of senior executives, produced the report earlier this year setting out a framework for recommendations on the development of the industry over the next 20 years, and to promote the UK as a key player in a global industry.

The report recommended the development of:

• An Automotive Council – a senior level council with representation from government and industry to oversee the development of a co-ordinated strategic approach to the sector.

• Test Bed UK – active support for a major demonstrator programme for ultra-low carbon vehicles.

• Supply Chain Council – feeding into the Automotive Council and focused on the development of a strong automotive supply base in the UK.

• Strategic support for automotive research and development, through the NAIGT’s technology roadmap.

“Government support for the NAIGT’s key recommendations signals a fundamental shift in the relationship between industry and government. It is an explicit recognition of the strategic national importance of the UK motor industry and its role in generating jobs and prosperity for the long term. I am delighted that Richard Parry-Jones has agreed to co-chair the Automotive Council,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “Industry is operating in a challenging environment but I am confident that as global growth returns we are well placed to exploit new and exciting opportunities.”

The report states that the Automotive Council will meet for the first time before the year’s end and will be tasked with transforming the UK business environment for automotive – attracting inward investment for the research and development of new technology, funding for collaborative testing and research facilities, and maximising incentives for the upgrading and development of existing research and manufacturing facilities.

Under the leadership of the Automotive Council, the Supply Chain Council will focus on the development of tier one companies in the UK, to identify any gaps in the supply chain and look for occasions to develop opportunities to supply components for emerging technologies.

This announcement recognises the strength and contribution the industry makes to the UK economy and the importance of committing to a long-term strategic plan for future growth and development in the sector.