F1 technology will be used to design greener cars
Formula 1 technology could soon make family cars lighter, improve fuel efficiency, and help plug-in vehicles go further - after an innovative research project won a share of a £38.2 million government prize.
The project is one of more than 130 car manufacturers, technology companies, and research centres across the country to have won a share of the money, announced in the Budget, which will create hi-tech jobs and help Britain become a global leader in exporting state of the art, emission-cutting technology.
A consortium including Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan has received £1.7 million for ‘light weighting’ technology, applying the science behind Formula 1 cars and space satellites to make passenger cars weigh less and be more fuel efficient. The results could reduce the weight of steel components in vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf by more than half, potentially extending the distance a plug-in car can drive by up to 25%.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Our £38 million investment will help Britain become a world leader in this exciting and valuable technology sector, creating skilled jobs of the future as part of our long-term economic plan. It will also mean lower running costs for motorists and less fuel consumption, which is good for the environment and our economy.
“This competition continues our £600 million commitment by 2020 to support the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, making journeys cheaper and greener, ensuring the nation is fit for the future.”
The winning projects were chosen following a competition launched last September encouraging companies to propose innovative ideas to cut vehicle emissions. The funding combines £30 million from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) with £8.2 million of additional funding from Innovate UK, who will support the schemes.
They will begin unveiling working prototypes by 2018 and could feature in passenger cars from 2020.
Roland Meister, Head of Transport at Innovate UK said: “UK businesses have a great opportunity to be at the leading edge of the global drive to increase efficiency and reduce emissions from our vehicles. This £38m of Government support means that more than 130 innovative organisations right across the country now have the chance to get their ideas off the drawing board and potentially into the cars and trucks of the future, boosting the economy by at least £532m in the process.”
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IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.