More than 40 companies manufacture vehicles in the UK, ranging from global volume car makers and van, truck, and bus builders, to specialist niche players. Currently none of the vehicles manufactured in the UK is a hybrid or electric vehicle, but the sector was boosted with the March 2010 announcement that Nissan would be manufacturing the Leaf electric car at their Sunderland plant from 2013 with planned production of 50,000 cars annually.
The UK is home to the dedicated facilities of vehicle manufacturers, such as those at Ford’s engineering centres at Dunton, Gaydon and Whitley, and Nissan’s R&D centre at Cranfield. In addition, renowned names such as Lotus Engineering, MAHLE, MEL, Millbrook, MIRA, mi Technology, Perkins, Pi Technology, Prodrive, Ricardo, RLE, Roush, TRW Conekt, TWI and Zytek are also active in the UK. Many of these companies are also part of the supply chain for hybrid and electric vehicles.
Automotive Council UK
The Automotive Council UK was established in December 2009 as a key recommendation of the industry-led New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (NAIGT) in response to a UK government request to industry to take the automotive sector forward and ensure its strength and contribution to the UK economy and employment. The Automotive Council, along with its Technology and Supply Chain Working Groups, are working to create a transformed business environment for the automotive industry in the UK, to provide a more compelling investment proposition for related industries.
A technology roadmap for low and ultra-low carbon vehicles and fuels was developed through the Automotive Council and unanimously agreed to by the UK automotive industry. This has been produced concurrent with a review of the automotive technologies in which the UK has an established expertise, including high-tech internal combustion engines, energy storage and management, lightweight vehicles and powertrains, electric machines, low-cost power electronics, and intelligent transportation systems.
Many of the areas of identified UK expertise cross-cut both the low and ultra-low carbon sectors, and are driven by the strong automotive heritage. The industry is working hard to develop and consolidate the UK capabilities in these technologies to encourage the formation of a flourishing early market for ultra-low carbon vehicles, while working hard to develop a stronger and more competitive automotive supply chain.