The week ahead: automotive innovation and trends in renewables

At its annual automotive summit this week, the SMMT plans to examine the trends that are shaping the sector, whilst a series of IET lectures on renewables will also look at some of the challenges that lie ahead.  

In the immediate aftermath of the recent VW emissions revelations, the trade body for the car industry in the UK (The SMMT) was quick to jump to the defence of the UK car industry.

Urging calm, it said in a statement that VW’s transgression was an isolated incident.

And though the subsequent news that UK-sold vehicles are also involved has undermined assurances that the scandal was limited to the US, the body still maintains that other car-makers are playing by the rules.

This week (Tuesday 13th October) at its annual automotive summit in London, the SMMT will be hoping to shift industry debate back onto a more positive footing, as delegates gather to learn about and discuss the factors that are fuelling the UK industry’s success (last year we made 1.5 million vehicles and exported around 80 per cent of these) and the trends that will shape and influence it in the years ahead: from electric vehicles to the challenges of selling to a new generation of consumers.

Speakers include BMW’s Ian Robertson, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer and Nissan Chairman Paul Willcox.

Elsewhere this week, the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) is hosting a series of lectures all addressing different hot topics within the renewable energy sector. 

In the first of these lectures, which will be held on 13th October, the presenter will consider the importance of energy storage technology (a popular topic of debate amongst readers of The Engineer). The presentation will call for a major publicly-funded research initiative, on a similar scale to the 1960s US Apollo programme, to develop renewables, smart grids, and energy storage.

The following day (14th October) a related lecture will examine the pros and cons of the current crop of renewable technologies, and according to the IET website will show “the light at the end of the tunnel of “fossil fuel independence”.”

Finally, also on the 14th, the focus will shift to perhaps one of the UK’s most tangible examples of renewable energy in action: The London Array , which is  the world’s largest offshore wind farm.