Funding will put F1 technology into buses and diggers

GKN and JCB are among recipients of £133m of new investment into projects that will incorporate Formula 1 technology into buses and diggers to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Consortia led by GKN, JCB, Cummins and Ford received the funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), a joint £1bn government-industry fund established as part of the government’s industrial strategy.

APC will see government and industry invest £500m equally in the sector over the next decade to research, develop and commercialise technologies for the vehicles of the future.

The funding announcement was made by business secretary Vince Cable during a visit to Ford in Dunton, Essex.

For their part, Ford and partners will receive a £13.1m grant toward a £100m programme to upgrade the EcoBoost engine, whilst a consortium led by GKN Land Systems will receive a £7.5m grant as part of a £16m project to apply Formula 1 technology from Williams for use in buses.

Cummins and their partners will receive a £4.9m grant for a £9.9m project to deliver reductions in carbon emissions from bus engines through the development of new stop-start diesel engine technology; and JCB, with Flybrid, will £3.3m as part of a £7.3m project to apply Formula 1 technology for use in diggers. For the latter project, it is estimated that the carbon emissions of a single 20 tonne excavator will be reduced by 16 tonnes per year.

In a statement, Cable said: ‘The next generation of cars, buses and diggers will be powered by radically different technologies and I want them to be developed here in Britain.

‘Over the last few decades the British car industry has been transformed and today a new vehicle rolls off a UK production line every 20 seconds.

‘To capitalise on the success of our motor industry these projects will be the first of many to receive funding from the new £1bn Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) which we set up to turn technologies into products.’

Cable announced also that companies can shortly bid for a further £75m from the APC with the launch of its second competition. The APC will now run bi-annual competitions which open in April and October each year.