Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

£1 billion Advanced Propulsion Centre to be based at the University of Warwick

APC LogoThe Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has selected the University of Warwick as the site for its Hub location, supporting the ten year, £1 billion industry and government commitment to the development of low carbon propulsion systems.

The central Hub together with a national Spoke structure will provide the UK automotive industry with resources and facilities to develop advanced propulsion systems and supply chains. In doing so the aim of the APC, in partnership with industry, is to secure and grow over 30,000 UK jobs currently engaged in the research, development and production of vehicle powertrains as the industry transitions to a low carbon future for all modes of transportation.

An open and rigorous process was used to select the Hub location overseen by an independent, industry-led assessment panel. The final decision was based on the requirement to have a suitable facility for rapid start-up with:

  • Ease of access with good communication networks.
  • Access to capable skills.
  • Independence and flexibility.
  • Scope for physical expansion as the APC gains momentum.
  • Provision for world class showcasing of UK capability in advanced technologies.

The APC helps forge partnerships between those who have good ideas and those who can bring them to market. The services provided by the APC will enable projects which provide profitable growth and sustainable opportunities for the partners involved and contribute to the UK’s economic prosperity.

APC Chief Executive Tony Pixton said:

‘The Advanced Propulsion Centre will support the UK automotive industry to become a global leader in the research, development and production of advanced propulsion systems. Through our Hub and Spoke network we will enable collaboration between SMEs, suppliers and vehicle manufacturers to create new powertrain solutions that build UK capability.

The competition to identify the location for the APC Hub has reinforced the fact that the UK is strategically placed to be a worldwide centre for low carbon propulsion systems, R&D and production. The University of Warwick will become the location of the Hub for the APC, at the centre of a Propulsion Nation, offering world-class facilities and expertise as part of the ten year programme of activity.

The APC has already committed more than £130 million of new investment into the UK economy since it opened for business earlier this year. By the end of the year an additional round of project funding will allocate up to a further £75 million as part of the rapid action being undertaken by the APC team.

The Hub facility is due to open in the Autumn and we will make further announcements about Spoke locations later this year.’

The Advanced Propulsion Centre was created from the collaboration between industry and government through the Automotive Council. The APC is a central pillar of the Industrial Strategy published by the Council in 2013. The Automotive Council is co-chaired by the motor industry and government.

Professor Richard Parry-Jones, CBE, Co-Chair of the Automotive Council said:

‘I am pleased to note that the Advanced Propulsion System has selected its Hub location, which along with the regional Spokes, will be the key enablers for the rapid development of vehicle propulsion technology in the UK. Today’s announcement represents another important step in the implementation of the Automotive Council’s industrial strategy to position Britain as an undisputed leader in developing lower carbon technologies for future vehicles.’

Business Secretary Vince Cable, Co-Chair of the Automotive Council said:

‘The Advanced Propulsion Centre is spearheading the UK’s drive to develop new greener engines. The £1 billion investment we are making alongside industry will safeguard more than 30,000 jobs.

The news that the University of Warwick will host the headquarters for the centre means we can accelerate our research into the next generation of automotive technology. 

The government’s industrial strategy is backing the auto sector as it goes from strength to strength. We are providing the right environment to give businesses the confidence to invest and create high skilled jobs.’

The University of Warwick welcomed the news that the Advanced Propulsion Centre Hub will be located on campus. Vice Chancellor Nigel Thrift said:

‘We are delighted to be selected to host the APC hub. The University of Warwick’s own commitment to a multidisciplinary research programme focused on global challenges means that we will provide not just a home but significant opportunities that will help the APC create a range of effective research partnerships.’

Further announcements about Spoke locations, funding competitions and the development of the APC team will be made in the coming months.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre was formed in 2013 from a commitment between the government and automotive industry through the Automotive Council to position the UK as a global centre of excellence for low carbon powertrain development and production. It is a central pillar of the Industrial Strategy created by the Automotive Council.

The Advanced Propulsion Centre UK Limited (APC) is a private limited company, an industry-wide collaboration of innovators and producers of low carbon propulsion systems. It facilitates partnerships between those who have good ideas and those who can bring them to market. The services provided by the APC enable projects which provide profitable growth and sustainable opportunities for the partners involved. Each programme enhances the UK’s position as a Propulsion Nation and contributes to the country’s economic prosperity.

The government and industry have each committed to provide £500 million to the APC during its 10 year programme. The activity in this £1 billion project will be delivered through a small team working across the UK from a central Hub located at the University of Warwick and regional Spoke locations.

The first round of investments by the APC was announced in April 2014 and covered four project consortia:

  • Ford and its partners will receive a £13.1 million grant for their £100 million programme to upgrade the award-winning EcoBoost engine. This will accelerate the introduction of advanced low carbon technologies to deliver improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
  • GKN Land Systems and its partners will receive a £7.5 million grant as part of a £16 million project to apply motorsport energy recovery technology for use in buses. The Gyrodrive system is designed to save the braking energy of a bus as it slows for a stop and use it to accelerate the bus back up to speed. By avoiding wasting the energy every time a bus stops the system is projected to deliver fuel savings in the order of 25%.
  • Cummins and its partners will receive a £4.9 million grant for a £9.9 million project to deliver significant reductions in carbon emissions from bus engines through the development of new stop-start diesel engine technology. This will improve fuel consumption by 15 to 20%.
  • JCB and its partner Flybrid will receive a £3.3 million grant as part of a £7.3 million project to apply Formula 1 technology for use in diggers. This will reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions resulting in a substantially reduced carbon footprint for construction projects using this machinery. On average, the carbon emissions of a single 20 tonne excavator will be reduced by an estimated 16 tonnes per year.

The second round of investments by the APC will be announced during September 2014.

The University of Warwick

The University of Warwick is consistently ranked as one of the UK’s top research universities. Much of its automotive research is undertaken in WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group). WMG is one of the world’s leading applied technology research groups and has been investing in automotive and propulsion research for more than 15 years and continues to grow its activities in this area. Its multi-disciplinary partnership approach provides organisations of all sizes with opportunities to engage in high tech research, development and innovation, leading to new technologies, products or services and processes.

Read Green Car Guide’s reviews of UK automotive conferences