WMG at the University of Warwick has been awarded £5.7 million by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to form a Prosperity Partnership with Jaguar Land Rover that could literally be described as ”electrifying.”
WMG’s Professor Barbara Shollock said: “This Prosperity Partnership will tackle the emerging challenges for vehicle electrification through a unique collaboration to grow scientific understanding. This integrated approach brings the potential for the UK to lead, both industrially and scientifically, in an area of high growth and relevance in the UK’s industrial strategy.”
“Our shared vision is to create new scientific insights to underpin the Automotive Council’s electrification agenda, from batteries and power electronics to electric motors and electric drive units.”
Electrification is a strategic target for the UK and a major element in the UK Industrial Strategy and an opportunity to grow a new globally-competitive industry. The UK strategy for ultra-low emission vehicles states the ‘vision is that by 2050 almost every car and van in the UK will be an ultra-low emission vehicle, with the UK at the forefront of their design, development and manufacture, making us one of the most attractive locations for ultra-low emission vehicle–related inward investment in the world’. To achieve this requires a step-change in knowledge, understanding and technology and Prosperity Partnership bringing together the WMG and Jaguar Land Rover will help achieve that.
Jaguar Land Rover is working towards a cleaner future, with ultra-clean diesels and petrol engines, BEVs, PHEVs and MHEVs in its strategic plans. It has recently unveiled its first BEV, the Jaguar I-PACE Concept which will be on the roads in 2018. By 2020, customers will be offered the option of electrification on half of its vehicles.
WMG has considerable research strengths in a range of the technologies needed; one example being WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre, a national facility for battery research. This facility supports the test, development and scale-up of new battery chemistries from concept through to fully-proven traction batteries. Current research focuses on developing cheaper, higher energy density, safer batteries with emphasis on new battery chemistries, electro-mechanical behaviour, second life applications, super-capacitors and high rate chemistries.
WMG and Jaguar Land Rover have identified energy systems and advanced propulsion as the starting point for our proposed EPSRC Prosperity Partnership. The research will focus on bearing and gear surfaces, batteries, power electronics and electric machines. However, the partnership will also embed that research into learning within skills programmes.
This award is one of a set of “Prosperity Partnerships”, which will receive £31 million of government funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). This will be matched by a further £36 million from partner organisations in cash or in-kind contributions, plus £11 million from the various partner universities’ funds, totalling £78 million in all.
Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council said: “If innovation is an ecosystem then it is dependent on having a fertile soil of research and the fresh air of ideas to nourish its growth. These new Prosperity Partnership and IAA EPSRC investments will provide the right conditions in which new technologies and products can be developed more quickly. In turn, this will return social and economic benefits and ensure the UK continues to be one of the best places in the world to research, innovate and grow business.”