A Welsh automotive components company has won support for a £31.9 million project to develop lightweight electric powertrains for heavy goods vehicles in the latest round of R&D funding guided by the Advanced Propulsion Centre.
The Electric Powertrain Integration for Heavy Commercial Vehicles project will see Cwmbran-based company – Meritor – develop zero-emission ‘smart’ powertrains for heavy commercial vehicles to manage extreme levels of electrical power. The technology will integrate the key elements of motor, inverter, gearbox, differential and brakes in a single lightweight system for vehicles up to 44 tonnes and includes coaches, off-highway and construction vehicles.
John Bennett, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Meritor said: “With this award, our consortium will develop a game-changing electric powertrain for heavy-duty 4×2 and 6×2 vehicles up to 44 tonnes. This technology will provide commercial vehicle OEMs with the optimal solution to meet EU 2025 CO2 reduction targets, in addition to a host of other product benefits including greater efficiency, reduced weight, longer-range capability, and far greater application flexibility when compared to existing systems.’”
Ken Hogan, Vice President, Truck, Europe, China, Japan and ASEAN Meritor added, “This grant will put Meritor’s highly-skilled Welsh-based engineering team at the forefront of advanced commercial vehicle technologies, positioning South East Wales as the premier location for companies developing clean transportation and technologies. Meritor’s existing air disc brake facility in Cwmbran will house a new European eMobility Centre of Excellence with expanded laboratory and R&D facilities.”
Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart went on, “As we work towards net zero by 2050, South Wales will be a hub of innovation and green technology as we transform the UK economy over the coming years.
“It follows recent UK Government backing for the Global Centre of Rail Excellence and to develop a net zero industrial zone across South Wales as we ensure that the region’s proud heritage is continued with the industries of the future.”
It comes as more than £54 million in combined government and industry funding has been committed to three innovative projects across the UK for cars, buses, heavy goods vehicles and vans.
Jon Beasley, Business Development and Programmes Director at the APC concluded,“The project being carried out by Meritor is vital for advancing the development of electrification in the heavy goods sector and accelerating the transition of the automotive sector to a net-zero future. As one of three projects to benefit from £54 million of investment, the funding will enable the UK to apply its world-class innovation and experience in electrification of vehicles across the supply chain in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”