A new £60m research facility aims to make the West of England the world leader in ultra-low emission vehicles.
The West of England Combined Authority under new mayor Tim Bowles is backing the creation of a new Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) at the Bristol and Bath Science Park.
Tim Bowles (centre) with Gary Hawley and Glynis Breakwell of Bath University
The combined authority said IAAPS would ‘be a global centre of excellence, delivering transformational research and innovation’ and ‘lead the development of future generations of ultra-low emission vehicles and attract sector-related businesses to the region, generating economic growth’.
Together with the region's Local Enterprise Partnership, the combined authority will allocate £10m to the project from the Local Growth Fund. Capital funding of £28.9m is coming from the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s UK Research Partnership Investment Fund.
Mr Bowles said, ‘IAAPS will also support the development of a much larger and more competitive automotive business cluster in the region, providing access to its state-of-the art facilities to start-ups and small to medium-sized companies.
‘Supporting innovation and business growth is key to our economic success. I want to see our businesses fulfil their potential, and will ensure our policies support businesses to start and grow here in the West of England.’
The combined authority said the Institute will exploit the engineering expertise of the University of Bath for the benefit of the UK’s automotive industry, stimulating over £67m in additional automotive research investment by 2025, creating an additional turnover of £800m for the UK automotive sector and supporting nearly 1,900 new highly productive jobs.
It said global companies, including McLaren, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Hofer Powertrain and HORIBA Group, as well as more local businesses such as HiETA Technologies, have been key to the success of the IAAPS concept.
Construction will begin next summer and the centre is scheduled to be open in 2020.