C2I 2022: Automotive shortlist

Runners up in the C2I Awards automotive category spanned innovations in cyber-security, fuel-cell propulsion and mechanical engineering

Project: Lightweight anti-roll bar

University of Sheffield AMRC with Tinsley Bridge and Performance Engineered Solutions

Two South Yorkshire SMEs, Tinsley Bridge and Performance Engineered Solutions, joined forces with the research and innovation capabilities of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to design, manufacture and test a high-performance stabiliser bar for trucks and trains that is 30 per cent lighter than those currently on the market.

First appearing in the 1950s, the anti-roll bar (ARB) is a key part of a vehicle's suspension unit that helps reduce the body roll of a vehicle during fast cornering or over road irregularities. ARBs are vital to the safe functioning of vehicles, and have traditionally been manufactured from high-strength, aircraft-grade steel.

This two-year project involved the development of a Lightweight Metal Composite Hybrid (LiMeCH) to create a suitable joint between a carbon fibre composite tube and a metallic end fitting that together form an ARB. Replacing the steel with lighter materials can improve fuel efficiency, helping operators meet new emissions regulations, and composite materials are less affected by fatigue so their use can deliver increased reliability without compromising performance.

Project: Low cost fuel cell demonstrator vehicle

MAHLE Powertrain with Bramble Energy

Northampton’s MAHLE Powertrain teamed up with fuel cell innovator Bramble Energy to demonstrate the viability of PCBFC™, a proprietary circuit board manufacturing technique with widespread potential for hydrogen powered vehicles. 

While hydrogen fuel cells are not new, their adoption has been hampered by the high financial investment required for the set-up of manufacturing facilities to produce the bi-polar plates used within fuel cell stacks. To help drive down the cost of the main fuel cell stack itself, Bramble Energy have developed a novel fuel cell stack construction based on PCB technology more commonly used in the electronics sector.

Together, the partners built a demonstrator vehicle based on a Renault Kangoo BEV platform, with a fuel cell system that utilised a 10 kW, liquid cooled, PCBFC™ stack. The collaboration has shown the potential of Bramble Energy's PCBFC™ technology to revolutionise the use of hydrogen fuel cells as a viable and cost-effective source of power in light-duty electric vehicles. It has also generated significant interest in the application of this new technology in other sectors, such as marine and power generation.

Project: ResilientWorks

Welsh Government with Thales and Cardiff University

ResilientWorks is a living laboratory that enables leading tech companies to test and develop autonomous vehicle and power systems, with a scientific research programme bringing university researchers and companies together in facilities that include laboratories, a test track, and a model street complex. The initiative works alongside a major schools and colleges outreach programme, laying a pathway for the next generation of talent to go into the cyber industry.


ResilientWorks expands on the campus begun by NDEC, a £20m joint investment launched in 2019 by Thales, the Welsh Government and the University of South Wales. The first business developed on the former Ebbw Vale steelworks site as part of the area's economic regeneration plan, NDEC has won work for Wales from Innovate UK and the UK Government, and is working with companies such as Unilever, GE and The Royal Mint.

By combining the expertise of a global technology company such as Thales with the investment, contribution and commitment of both Welsh Government and Cardiff University, ResilientWorks is driving positive change in the local area.