Press Report : JLR part of pioneer scheme in low carbon transport

John Cranage, Birmingham Post, 23rd June, 2009

Jaguar Land Rover is one of six car manufacturers putting their expertise behind a West Midland project to pioneer the development of mass low carbon transport. The scheme, which is launched in Birmingham today, will see more than 100 battery, hydrodgen-powered and hybrid cars tested on the region’s roads over the next year or so in the biggest programme of its kind so far.

The carmakers are part of a regional consortium chosen as one of eight throughout the country to take part in the Government-backed £25 million Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator (ULCVD) competition. The consortium, known as CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrators), is led by design and engineering consultant Arup and includes regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, power provider Eon, the city councils of Birmingham and Coventry, Birmingham and Aston Universities.

JLR is joined by its Indian parent group Tata Motors, Coventry-based taxi manufacturer LTI, Microcab, also based in Coventry, Mercedes Benz/Smart and Mitsubishi. CABLED will supply about a third of the 340 ultra-low carbon vehicles that will be tested on the roads of Britain over the next year to 18 months.

The fleet will include Land Rover’s Range_e electric/diesel hybrid based on the current Range Rover Sport, LTI’s TX4E taxis, the Tata Indica Vista EV and the hydrogen-powered Microcab. JLR said the Range_e electric, five of which will be taking part, can run for 20 miles on its battery between recharges and when running on its diesel engine emits below 100g/km of CO2.

Birmingham and Coventry City Councils and Eon will provide charging points for the battery-powered cars in the West Midland trial and Birmingham University’s hydrogen refuelling station, one of only a few in the country, will also be available. Experts at Aston University will analyse findings of the tests.

The appointment is testament to the consortium’s collective dedication to developing sustainable, ultra low carbon vehicles. CABLED is the largest of all eight regional consortiums and will contribute approximately 110 of the 340 vehicles that this Technology Strategy Board will involve in UK road trials over the next six to 18 months.” Neil Butcher, Project Leader, CABLED.

The ultra-low carbon projection is run by the Technology Strategy Board, a business-led government body set up to promote and support technological innovation. CABLED Project Leader Neil Butcher, who is part of the vehicle design group at Arup, said: “The West Midlands’ automotive expertise is globally renowned. Combining this with the capabilities of our academics and public sector partners ensures that the region will be at the forefront of developing the next generation of road vehicles.

“The appointment is testament to the consortium’s collective dedication to developing sustainable, ultra low carbon vehicles. CABLED is the largest of all eight regional consortiums and will contribute approximately 110 of the 340 vehicles that this Technology Strategy Board will involve in UK road trials over the next six to 18 months.”

The consortium will share in the £25 million funding committed by the Government as part of its programme to speed up the widescale introduction of the next generation of eco-friendly cars. The money will be in addition to the “substantial investment” of the consortium members.

Technology Strategy Board Chief Executive Iain Gray said: “The journey towards low carbon transport will not be easy but the demonstrator programme which we are launching is a major step in the right direction. With over 340 cars being trialled in several regions across the UK, and with the involvement of large and small manufacturers, local authorities and infrastructure companies, it is the biggest project of its kind to date.”

[Source: Birmingham Post]

Clive Goldthorp

About the Author:

Clive claims that his interest in the BMC>MG story dates back to his childhood in the 1960s when the family’s garage premises were leased to a tenant with an Austin agency. However, back in the 1920s and 1930s, his grandmother was one of the country’s first female Garage Proprietors so cars probably run in his genes! Admits to affairs with Alfa Romeos, but has more recently owned an 06/06 MG TF 135 and then a 15/64 MG3 Style… Clive, who was AROnline’s News Editor for nearly four years, stood down from that role in order to devote more time to various Motor Racing projects but still contributes articles on as regular basis as his other commitments permit.

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