Growth, innovation and breaking down barriers are the upbeat themes to the news that caught our eye over the last month. If this lot is anything to go by, the future of the automotive market in the UK is safe. Read on!
Rivian and Mercedes-Benz joint plan venture to produce an electric van.
Rivian and Mercedes-Benz have signed a memorandum of understanding to create a joint venture to produce an electric van together. If the deal passes through regulatory clearances, the automakers will leverage an existing Mercedes Benz site in Europe to build an all-new electric-only production facility to produce the electric van in partnership. The companies wrote in a press release:
“The companies envisage production-optimized vehicle designs for efficient manufacturing on common assembly lines. They will aim to produce two large vans, one based on VAN.EA (MB Vans Electric Architecture), the electric-only platform of Mercedes Benz Vans, and the other based on the second generation electric-van, Rivian Light Van (RLV) platform. Further options for increased synergies from the joint venture will also be explored.”
Lewis Hamilton and Extreme E tackle barriers for female and ethnic minority engineers
Sir Lewis Hamilton and the Extreme E off-road racing series aim to remove barriers for female and ethnic minority engineers by offering a new route into motorsport. Last year, the Hamilton Commission identified at least six barriers that limit black people’s progression into engineering and motorsport careers.
The new Racing for All initiative provides an additional mechanic or engineer position at each Extreme E team, open to people with less than one year’s professional motorsport experience, providing a first step on the career ladder in a competitive industry.
Manufacturing & Technology
Autonomous transport specialist takes AIM with flotation
One of the UK’s leading providers of transport technology solutions is planning to list on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange as it accelerates growth across its aviation division.
Aurrigo International plc was formed 29 years ago by David and Graham Keene. It has raised £8m to fund strategic expansion plans that will see the continued development and future roll-out of its Auto-Dolly product, an autonomous vehicle for carrying cargo and luggage at airports around the world. Located at its advanced engineering centre in Coventry, the new investment will be used to scale up future production and build on successful trials at Changi International Airport in Singapore and Gerald R Ford International Airport in North America. More than 50 jobs are set to be created in the UK and at overseas sales and technical offices in North America and the Far East.
At-home breast cancer check wins James Dyson Award 2022
A tool that can detect suspicious lumps in breast tissue, a barrier that prevents plastic waste from reaching the ocean, and a bicycle helmet that transmits vibrations for deaf people were amongst the 29 winning projects for the James Dyson Award, the prestigious international engineering competition, which celebrates, encourages and inspires the next generation of design engineers.
The young people behind the ingenious inventions won the national leg of the 2022 award in their respective countries. Some of the winners will progress to the international stages of the competition, which starts in October. The UK winner is DotPlot, which develops an at-home breast health monitoring tool that offers guided self-checks. The system uses sound signals and a mobile app, and is designed to facilitate early detection of breast cancer by enabling and encouraging women to stick to a regular self-check routine.
JCB’s £8m investment in future talent
JCB has created more than 150 new jobs for apprentices and graduates with an £8 million investment in its industry-leading early careers programme, which focuses on training the next generation of manufacturers, engineers, and business specialists.
Commenting on the announcement JCB’s CEO, Graeme Macdonald, said:
“JCB’s future growth and success depends on recruiting and training new talent. JCB always plans for the long term and that is more important than ever as the business goes through a period of rapid growth. We are delighted to welcome our new apprentices and graduates as they embark on challenging and rewarding careers.”
Executives & Leaders
Former Jaguar Land Rover exec to help open UK's largest battery factory
UK battery project West Midlands Gigafactory has hired former Jaguar Land Rover and Lotus engineer Richard Moore to help it find global battery partners, the company has said. The project aims to open Britain's largest battery factory to supply advanced lithium ion batteries to automakers building EVs in the UK.
At full capacity, the company says the factory will be able to produce up to 60 gigawatt-hours -- enough to power 600,000 electric vehicles a year. Production is planned to start in 2025.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen has announced new appointments to key positions on its Board of Management, laying foundations for its transformation toward a focus on digital and autonomous mobility. Thomas Ulbrich becomes board member in charge of the newly created New Mobility division. Kai Grünitz succeeds Ulbrich as the board member responsible for Technical Development (TD), and Patrik Andreas Mayer, currently Chief Financial Officer at Volkswagen Group Russia, becomes the Chief Financial Officer at the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand.