Four leading institutions are forming a partnership to power up
North East England's electric vehicle (EV) economy.
Leading EV advocates Zero Carbon Futures, Gateshead College,
transport consultants TRL and sustainability experts tadea, have
formed a partnership to further grow the region as an international
centre for zero carbon emission vehicles.
The four organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding
to launch the Zero Carbon Vehicle Centre of Excellence programme.
This aims to increase the number of EV technologies that are
developed and trialled in the region; grow jobs in the sector; and
become a leader in EV and fuel efficient driver training.
Each organisation brings a different strength to the
partnership. Headquartered in Bracknell, TRL is a leader in the
domain of transport science, research and technical consultancy and
brings expertise in a wide portfolio of zero and low carbon related
competencies including the use of vehicle simulators for driver
training and research applications. This agreement will see the
organisation look to North East England to further develop their
low carbon vehicle knowledge and drive forward international
business partnerships in this field.
Paul Copping, Corporate Development Director, TRL said: "We
firmly believe that the introduction and expansion of electric
vehicles is one of the best solutions for reducing C02 emissions
from road users and offers significant business opportunities to
the UK. We are keen to expand TRL's skills in this sector and we
have chosen Gateshead College's Skills Academy for
Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation in North East England as
our low carbon vehicle base. We look forward to working with other
organisations already in the region to make the most of our
combined knowledge and partnerships."
Under the terms of the agreement, the partners will form working
teams to place significant investment, research and development
into the latest innovations in battery development, electric
vehicle technologies and hydrogen fuel cells.
Colin Herron, Director of Zero Carbon Futures, said: "This
signing builds on the recent announcement by Nissan and Gateshead
College which will see the development of a Zero Emission Centre of
Excellence in the region. The new centre will provide significant
opportunities to the region in areas of manufacturing, battery and
technology development and this partnership will build on those
Zero Carbon Futures was established in 2011 and has a wide remit
to further develop and sustain a low carbon automotive and
transport technology cluster in the North East of England picking
up on the work of the Regional Development Agency, One North East,
to ensure that the region is an international leader in this
Gateshead College is a recognised leader in the development of
skills and training in the new technologies of sustainable
transport. The College administers the Government's Plugged in
Places project, through its Charge Your Car project. This aims to
install over 1,000 EV charging points across the region by 2013.
Smith Electric Vehicles and Gateshead College also worked together
to create the UK's first Electric Vehicle apprenticeship, which
launched in 2010. The College's £9.8million Skills Academy for
Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation, where TRL will now be
based, was opened in 2011 and sits alongside a Performance Track,
for trailling low carbon vehicles.
Mick Brophy, managing director for business, innovation and
development, Gateshead College, said: "Our aim is to develop a
world-leading facility for low carbon vehicle technology that will
attract new businesses and customers to our region. TRL's decision
to make Gateshead College's Skills Academy for Sustainable
Manufacturing and Innovation a base for their low carbon research
activity is a real vote of confidence showing that North East
England is already recognised nationally for our expertise."
Billingham-based tadea provides expert, impartial advice and
project management services in the field of sustainable energy and
carbon reduction, helping to create local jobs and economic growth
in these areas. One of the partnership's key objectives is to build
on tadea's long track record in driver training.
Alan Jones, Business Development Manager of tadea said:
"We are very excited about the plans we have as a partnership.
Together, we are making strides in making low carbon transport a
reality for road users. Driver training is crucial for the future
success of EVs as it can help drivers travel for longer distances,
and this is particularly important for the increasing number of
businesses that are choosing to use electric vehicles for their
North East England is already the established UK leader in the
emerging low carbon vehicle industry. The region is home to the
Nissan LEAF facility and battery assembly plant which will commence
production in March 2013, as well as other leading EV producers
including Smith Electric Vehicles andAVIDVehicles.