From an inspiring engineering graduate to a significant hire in hydrogen, and from battery recycling to exciting partnerships and a great story about Volta Trucks, it's all systems go for our February news roundup!
More excitement from Lotus
Lotus has announced a new division, Lotus Advanced Performance, which is dedicated to delivering “thrilling bespoke vehicles and world-class customer experiences”. Led by Simon Lane, former head of the ‘Q by Aston Martin’ Division, it is a significant further development in the ongoing transformation of Lotus from a UK sports car company to a global performance car business and brand.
Mr Lane said, “Working in tandem with the hugely experienced Lotus Design team, and colleagues in our engineering teams around the world, we are going to build the most exciting and exclusive Lotus cars, embracing our exciting electrified future while also honouring our illustrious past.”
JLR’s new partnership with NVIDIA
Jaguar Land Rover has formed a multi-year strategic partnership with NVIDIA, the leader in artificial intelligence and computing, to jointly develop and deliver next-generation automated driving systems plus AI-enabled services and experiences for its customers.
Starting in 2025, all new Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles will be built on the NVIDIA DRIVE™ software-defined platform—delivering a wide spectrum of active safety, automated driving and parking systems as well as driver assistance systems. Inside the vehicle, the system will deliver AI features, including driver and occupant monitoring as well as advanced visualisation of the vehicle’s environment.
McLaren & Extreme E
McLaren has made its debut in Extreme E, the e-racing series that starts in Neom, Saudi Arabia, in the Desert leg of a race calendar that will take place on four more off-road race tracks designed to highlight the impact of climate change on different terrains.
Fans watch the races remotely to lessen the environmental impact on each race venue, and the entire racing entourage is taken from race-to-race onboard St Helena, a ship used to transport the championship’s freight and infrastructure, including vehicles, to the nearest port to each of its five race locations. The ex-postal ship acts as a floating paddock for the teams, but it also reiterates the aim of minimising Extreme E’s emissions profile, as well as enabling scientific research through an on-board laboratory.
Manufacturing & Technologies
Aston Martin to create new jobs in Wales
Iconic British marque Aston Martin is to create more than 100 new skilled automotive technician roles at its St Athan site in South Wales following the launch of its DBX707 model, which will enter full production this quarter.
Tobias Moers, Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin Lagonda said: “As we ramp-up production of DBX707, we are delighted to have the opportunity to increase our team at St Athan and create more employment opportunities for the local community.”
The DBX SUV is the first Welsh-built production car for nearly 50 years, and Mr Moers describes the launch as “setting new benchmarks for performance in the luxury segment.”
Simon Hart, Secretary of State for Wales, said “Wales remains a highly attractive location for cutting-edge automotive technologies and the UK Government will continue to work to secure and support the investment of companies like Aston Martin Lagonda as they drive economic growth and create jobs.”
Volta Trucks is flying
Fully-electric commercial vehicle disruptor Volta Trucks has concluded a successful and oversubscribed Series C funding round with a €230 million capital raise. The raise will fund Volta’s engineering and business operations until after the start of series production of the 16-tonne full-electric Volta Zero at the end of 2022.
Further planned activity to be funded by the raise includes completion of a fleet of Design Verification prototypes for engineering development and testing, a fleet of Product Verification vehicles that will be evaluated by customers in London and Paris in mid-2022 and continued development of the recently confirmed 7.5- and 12-tonne full-electric Volta Zero derivatives.
The brand plans to produce 5,000 vehicles in 2023, increasing by up to 27,000 vehicles in 2025, at which point it will be operational across Europe and the US with a portfolio of four Volta Zero models including 7.5-, 12-, 16- and 18-tonne variants. Supporting these volume expectations are significant customer contracts and an orderbook with a value of over €1.2 billion.
We’re very proud to support Volta Trucks and are delighted to see the brand going from strength to strength!
Britishvolt and Glencore to open battery recycling plant in the UK
Battery pioneer Britishvolt, the leading UK investor in battery cell technologies and R&D, has partnered with Glencore to create a leading battery recycling joint venture.
The venture will develop a world-leading ecosystem for battery recycling in the UK, headquartered at Britannia Refined Metals operation in Northfleet (BRM, a Glencore company).
The facility is expected to be operational by mid- 2023 with the long-term aim of being 100% powered by renewable energy, and will have an expected processing capacity of a minimum of 10,000 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per year. This includes valuable battery manufacturing scrap, portable electronics batteries and full EV packs.
Executives & Leaders
Ford executive joins hydrogen power firm
Former Ford engineering boss Steve Gill has joined First Hydrogen as Chief Executive to lead its UK automotive division. He will oversee its LCV business and development of its two MAN hydrogen fuel cell road legal demonstrators with AVL Powertrain UK and Ballard Power Systems.
He previously headed a 2,000-strong team of engineers as Director of Power and Engineering at Ford of Europe. In his 19 years with Ford Motor Company he also led strategic programmes delivering technology into volume production, including Ford’s first series hybrid powertrain for commercial vehicles, mild hybrid technology for passenger cars and the three-cylinder Ecoboost engine.
An inspiring engineer career case study
We love this interview in The Engineer Magazine with Elin Esnard, a 22-year-old Technical Apprentice at aerospace engineering company Leonardo. Erin is one of the company’s top-performing apprentices and her experiences have taught her some lessons that new starters in the industry – and many other others besides – would do well to heed.
Read more: theengineer.co.uk