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North East gets £900k funding boost for low carbon vehicle projects

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Five new low carbon technology projects, based in the North East, will receive a £900,000 investment, helping the region in its desire to become the hub of low carbon vehicle technology.

“This continued investment is great news for the companies directly affected, but crucial for the UK’s ability to develop a comprehensive infrastructure that supports the take-up of low carbon vehicles,” said Dr. Colin Herron (pictured), managing director of Zero Carbon Futures, which oversees the fund.

“The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is gathering pace, and the North East is becoming a hub of infrastructure development and subsequent EV adoption. It is vital for projects such as those supported by the Collaborative Projects Fund to continue evolving innovative solutions that help integrate or improve low carbon vehicle technologies.

One of the successful projects, led by Route Monkey, will develop a software package that analyses usage patterns of EVs to help work out residual values and optimise the total cost of ownership.

“This will help make EVs appeal to fleet managers who are under increasing pressure to reduce the running costs and carbon footprint of their operations," Herron said.

"As EVs are still a new technology there is currently very little information on the long-term value of vehicles and degradation of battery performance, but an accurate forecast of performance reduces leasing companies’ risk and future financing costs.”

Colin Ferguson, chief executive officer of Route Monke, said: “The latest round of funding allows the further development of research work carried out by Route Monkey and other innovative, collaborative projects. 

“This investment not only makes innovative ideas a reality, but generates new jobs and allows for sustained business growth.”

Route Monkey is working with Teesside University and Urban Foresight to deliver the project, which will create 18 new jobs.

The other four projects are:

  • AVID Technology Group Ltd and Newcastle University developing an improved DC fan and water pump with new motor and controller assembly, which will improve performance, reduce weight and costs. The project will create 46 direct new jobs.
  • Seaward Electronics Ltd and Teesside University developing an EV charging point tester which would ensure safety, functionality and efficiency of commercial and domestic charging points. Eight new jobs will be created.
  • Sevcon Ltd and Wolverine Tube modelling and developing a novel High Voltage Low Power Inverter for use in EVs that can also improve the efficiency of non-EVs. Twenty-five direct new jobs will be created by this research and development project.
  • Hyperdrive and Wylam Professional Services (WPS) aims to develop products and associated engineering services in data loggers and GPRS enabled control ECUs for automotive, defense, marine and portable power applications. The project will generate three direct, and four indirect jobs.  


The Government’s Regional Growth Fund is a £3.2 billion fund designed to help companies in England grow. So far, £2.6 billion of funding has been allocated to support projects and programmes committed to deliver sustainable jobs and economic growth.

The investment is a further boost for the region, which will soon be home to a centre of excellence for low carbon technologies. 

The Future Technology Centre, which is owned and managed by Zero Carbon Futures, will be open for business in early 2014 and will drive the UK’s transition to a low carbon future, laying the foundations for the country to fortify its position as a European leader in the development and implementation of these technologies.

The third bidding round of The Low Emission Transport Collaborative Projects Fund is now open with a total of £574,000 available for applicants.

This is the final opportunity to bid for funding to undertake collaborative, near market research to bring new products to market to support the growth of the low emission transport sector in the North East.

The deadline for submission is Friday, December 20, 2013. For more details visit the website here

The fund is managed by Gateshead College and Zero Carbon Futures and administered by New Skills Consulting.

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