Sussex student takes home Autocar award

A mechanical engineering student from Sussex University has won this year’s Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award for his stacked graphene battery design.


Joshua de Wit received the honour at this year’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) annual dinner. Stacked graphene batteries could enable electric vehicle charging times at a fraction of today’s technology. The flexibility of the material could also help reduce the environmental impact of EVs production.

“It is a privilege to be presented with the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award,” said 21-year-old Joshua, who hails from Oxfordshire.

“From the outset, this has been a challenging but rewarding experience and the mentoring programme has really helped me to develop my idea and push myself further. I’m now excited at the prospect of working with some of the world’s most renowned vehicle manufacturers, experience which I’ve no doubt will stand me in excellent stead for carving out a career after university.”

The three finalists
The three finalists

Other finalists included Northumbria University’s Joel Hayes, who presented an autonomous vehicle promotion campaign called ‘Be Driven’, as well as Manuel Agustin Yepez Corsetti from the University of Glasgow, who created a concept that harvests waste energy with thermoelectric materials. As the winner, Joshua will now embark on a six-month work experience tour of award sponsors Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Nissan, Peugeot and Toyota.

“This award continues to go from strength to strength in its quest to identify, nurture and inspire the talent of the future for the automotive industry,” said Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley.

“I would like to personally congratulate not only the winner, Joshua, but also the finalists who came extremely close. The ideas and concepts they all produced were some of the finest the award has seen and it was difficult to choose a clear winner. If this award is anything to go by, the future is certainly bright for the automotive industry.”

Applications for the 2017 Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award will open early next year.