2022 was a challenging year for many of us, but it is hard not to find some cheer in our pick of December’s news across our markets – mostly due to investment in future tech and future talent, which is always a positive sign for UK’s place in global engineering and manufacture. And we’re delighted as ever to see good news for one of our partners, HVS.
Have a fantastic break. The Gerrell & Hard team wish you all the best for a successful and peaceful 2023. But first, read on...
Ford receives £600m government loan to ramp up UK EV production
Ford has received a £600m government loan through UK Export Finance funding and will use the investment to increase its electric vehicle range from two to nine models within the next four years.
The loan will boost a £125m investment into Ford’s EV powertrain facility in Merseyside, allowing the brand to increase volume from 250,000 units to 420,000 per year, and securing 500 jobs. It will also protect the car maker’s ability to deliver engineering services at its plant in Dunton, Essex, enabling a continued focus on research and development.
Ford UK’s chairman, Tim Slatter, said, “Our UK workforce is playing a major role in Ford’s all-electric future, demonstrated by Halewood’s pivot to a new zero-emission powertrain, and Dunton E:PriME’s innovation in finalising the production processes.”
Inside the most realistic F1 simulator you can buy
Simulators are an essential tool in the complex set-up that is a Formula 1's team development programme, and according to this piece, the most realistic one you can buy is made by UK firm Dynisma.
Read it here: autosport.com
Manufacturing & Tech
UK government allocates £102 million for nuclear and hydrogen innovation
The government has announced it will invest £102 million in hydrogen and nuclear innovation in a bid to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint. £77 million of this will aid the development of the UK’s nuclear sector, where the government will look to develop the next generation of nuclear modules in the form of high-temperature gas reactors (HTGR), a type of advanced modular reactor (AMR).
As a smaller and more flexible type of nuclear generator, AMRs represent an opportunity for the UK to build at lower cost and provide the grid with low-carbon electricity, but many will not be available until the 2030s, meaning their impact on the current energy crisis is low. Nonetheless, AMRs could produce substantial amounts of low-carbon energy and be instrumental in the UK’s energy transition.
The government has also £25 million to spur the creation of hydrogen through bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), which could play a unique role in the decarbonisation of various UK sectors with the technology having “negative emissions”, meaning it can remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Hydrogen HGV company HVS receives investment
HVS, the Glasgow-headquartered project to develop a hydrogen fuel cell-powered heavy goods vehicle, has been awarded £30m from a government and industry initiative. It aims to develop a "clean and affordable" cab and tractor unit to replace equivalent diesel-powered vehicles currently used across the UK and Europe.
HVS is one of five companies taking a share of a £73m pot raised between the UK government and the automobile industry to develop clean transport technology. Hydrogen propulsion is seen as central to decarbonising HGVs, as battery packs used by smaller electric vehicles at the scale required would be prohibitively heavy and have lengthy charging times.
HVS chief executive Jawad Khursheed said its plans to decarbonise heavy-duty transport in the UK had reached "a major milestone" with the help of the grant. He added: "We have successfully produced our first driving fuel cell technology demonstrator vehicle and are on track to deliver the UK's first-to-market hydrogen fuel cell-powered HGV."
We are delighted to partner with HVS; read more about the company.
Executive & Leaders
Stroll attempts to block possible Geely takeover of Aston Martin
Aston Martin executive chairman Lawrence Stroll and his Yew Tree investment group have increased their shareholding in the firm from around 19% to 28.29% through a series of investments totalling around £50m in recent months.
The move has been seen by industry experts as an attempt to block an aggressive takeover bid from Geely, which spent about £66 million earlier this year to buy 7.6 percent of the company.
Last month, Stroll said, “As a group of investors (Yew Tree) share a firm belief that Aston Martin is undervalued and that, despite the recent supply chain challenges, it is well set to continue its growth trajectory in the ultra-luxury high performance automotive business.”
Jaguar Land Rover boosts future electrification skills with bolstered UK apprenticeship programme.
Jaguar Land Rover has announced that it will hire 300 apprentices in the UK in 2023 as it continues to transition to an electrified future. The drive means that 800 people will join Jaguar Land Rover’s early careers programmes in 2023 - a 55% increase on last year’s figure and a new record intake for the company.
The announcement follows the launch of the company’s Future Skills Programme in September this year, a global upskilling drive to train 29,000 people in the next three years for its connected and data capabilities, and to support the rapid transition to electrification.
Jaguar Land Rover already has one of the largest apprenticeship populations in the UK automotive sector, with around 1,200 apprentices currently in training across its academy.