Funding from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is helping to establish several low carbon vehicle research projects.
A four year, £3.3m project entitled ELEVATE (Electrochemical Vehicle Advanced Technology) is set to develop better materials for energy storage devices such as batteries and supercapacitors, along with better diagnostics for fuel cells.
More efficient devices are needed to power low carbon vehicles - from improved economy conventional cars, to hybrids, battery and fuel cell electric vehicles - to help the government meet its 2050 target for reducing CO2. The team of academics and researchers also aims to come up with a way of allowing the mass charging of electric vehicles without crashing the national grid.
The venture, led by Loughborough University’s Professor Rob Thring, will have support from four other universities - Warwick, Oxford, Southampton and UCL.
A second project, called Ultra Efficient Engines and Fuels is being led by Dr Robert Morgan at the University of Brighton. This will investigate improving the operational efficiency of internal combustion engines by as much as one third, and how new fuels performance can be used in future engines to bring emissions close to zero.
The University of Bath has also been award been awarded EPSRC funding, and will establish a UK centre of excellence in low carbon vehicle research.
Set to open in April 2015, the Centre for Low Emission Vehicle Research (CLEVeR) will establish a platform where fundamental academic research can be undertaken alongside applied industry investigations. It will address many of the future research challenges associated with current and future low and ultra-low carbon vehicles under real world driving conditions.
The facility will feature a 4-wheel drive rolling road with state-of-the-art emissions measuring equipment and robot drivers that can replicate a variety of driving styles. The work to be undertaken is aimed at bridging the wide research gap between the laboratory and the real world.
“We believe this innovative centre offers large automotive manufacturers, SMEs and academic researchers the ultimate combination of precision, flexibility and real world data for vehicle and sub-systems testing. Working with industry partners, we plan to create a nationwide hub for essential automotive research into low carbon engines and technologies that are both climate-friendly and affordable,” says Professor Gary Hawley, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Design at the University of Bath.