£38m fund to design greener cars with F1 technology

Formula 1 technology could soon make family cars lighter, improve fuel efficiency and help plug-in vehicles go further - after an innovative research project won a share of a £38.2million government prize.

The project is made up of more than 130 car manufacturers, technology companies and research centres across the country that have won a share of the funds, announced in the Budget, which will create hi-tech jobs and help Britain become a global leader in exporting state of the art, emission-cutting technology.

A consortium including Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan has received £1.7m for light weighting technology - applying the science behind F1 cars and space satellites to make passenger cars weigh less and be more fuel efficient. The results could reduce the weight of steel components in vehicles by more than half; potentially extending the distance a plug-in car can drive by up to 25%.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Our £38m investment will help Britain become a world leader in this exciting and valuable technology sector, creating skilled jobs of the future as part of our long-term economic plan. It will also mean lower running costs for motorists and less fuel consumption, which is good for the environment and our economy.”

The winning projects were chosen following a competition launched last September encouraging companies to propose innovative ideas to cut vehicle emissions. The funding combines £30m from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) with £8.2m of additional funding from Innovate UK, who will support the schemes.

Roland Meister, head of Transport at Innovate UK said: “More than 130 innovative organisations right across the country now have the chance to get their ideas off the drawing board and potentially into the cars and trucks of the future, boosting the economy by at least £532m in the process.”

Working prototypes are expected to be unveiled by 2018 and could feature in passenger cars from 2020.