Welcome to our roundup of the news that's grabbed our attention from across our specialist industries over the last month!
Government’s loan guarantee to JLR shows commitment to mass electrification
The government has offered Jaguar Land Rover a £500m loan guarantee in its initiative to support electrification among UK car manufacturers. The guarantee will help the brand ready its Castle Bromwich production facility where it will build its next-generation XJ saloon, a rival to the Tesla Model S and Porsche Taycan.
This is part of the UK’s ongoing commitment to electric vehicles, which has also seen an eradication of benefit-in-kind charges for pure electric cars from 2020. JLR, Aston Martin, BMW, Vauxhall, Nissan, Shell and BP have formed a green mobility transition board which will coordinate plans for industry-wide switch to zero-emissions powertrains. The brands will collaborate on the construction of a “Gigafactory” near Coventry for the production of EV batteries.
Lotus unveils first all-electric British hypercar
The iconic British brand has introduced the world to the Evija, nominally the lightest and most powerful electric hypercar set for series production. It is the first new model released since Chinese group Geely Auto bought into the firm, and was designed and engineered in the UK, to be built in Hethel near Norwich.
The car is capable of 0-100km/h in under three seconds with a top speed of over 200mph, with a 2,000kW lithium-ion battery pack developed by Williams Advanced Engineering. With a range of 250 miles, it will cost upwards of £1.7m to buy and is intended to re-establish Lotus as a leader in terms of engineering and design.
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MoRe Modena Racing wins Formula Student 2019
Congratulations to MoRe Modena Racing – winners of this year’s Formula Student series. The team, which hails from University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, beat over 100 undergraduate teams from over 20 countries. Formula Student, run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, gives students the opportunity to collaborate on designing, building and racing single-seater cars in a series of races at Silverstone. Modena entered two cars in the series, including an innovative hybrid which won it the best powertrain award. It won several other awards across the series, as well as the Overall Winner trophy.
Autonomous driving set to become larger part of Formula Student
We are witnessing the growth of autonomy-related skillsets across the automotive industry, so it’s fascinating to see Formula Student declare a rising interest in autonomous driving – demonstrating clearly that the event is indeed a mirror of industry and a proving ground for future employees. This year’s competition featured its first autonomous car contest, and there are plans to expand this category in future events, reflecting increasing demand for engineers with the skills to develop self-driving cars.
Manufacturing & Technology
State of the art rail engineering facility to come to Leeds
Funding has been agreed for the Institute for High-Speed Rail and System Integration, set to open by 2021, which is aimed to transform how transport systems work around the world. The facility will put the UK at the forefront of developing and testing new railway engineering technologies. £11 million of the funding will be provided by government with a further £40 million from Leeds University and £13 million from the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal. The IHSRSI is part of a plan to position Leeds as a UK centre for rail engineering. It will measure how train, track, power systems and signals interact, and will be sited in the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone.
Happy anniversary Apollo 11. What will the next round of space exploration look like?
The 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 has dominated proceedings in cinemas, on television and in the news for weeks, but what about the next missions to the Moon? The below article explores some of the technologies, concepts and designs that could define the next era of lunar exploration, from robots that could explore and potentially extract lunar polar ice to provide oxygen and hydrogen for breathing and power fuel, to the possibility of lunar stations.
Exec & Leaders
Apple hires third Tesla engineer of the last year.
Steve MacManus is (at least) the third Tesla engineering senior to join Apple in the last year. Formerly a vice president in charge of engineering for interiors and exteriors at Tesla, he has joined Apple as a senior director. He has formerly worked at JLR, Bentley Motors and Aston Martin.
A tendency for the two brands to hire one another’s engineers has led to Elon Musk referring to Apple as a “Tesla graveyard” and created a degree of media noise about relationships between the brands, but this seems pretty inevitable in an era where the next generation of talent is still evolving and innovative major brands are competing in the same arena.
Radical proposal for diagnosing tuberculosis wins STEM Award.
Eleanor Wilson has become the overall winner of the Telegraph STEM Awards, which offer undergraduates the chance to prove their talent to some of the biggest names in industry. Her idea is a radical proposal to harness gene editing technology to help diagnose tuberculosis using CRISPR technology. It came top in the 2019 Healthcare award category, sponsored by pharmaceutical company GSK, and had to beat four other category winners to scoop the overall winner prize. Each category winner offered radical solutions to real-world challenges, from using bamboo to make cars lighter to developing robots to pick strawberries.