A group of engineering firms has managed to secure funding for research into electric drive-train systems that could eventually help the country significantly reduce its dependency on non-renewable energy sources.
The project is under the leadership of Sevcon - an engineering firm based in Gateshead. Other members of the group include Drives Research Group, Newcastle and Lincolnshire University's Power Electronics and Cummins Generator Technologies of Stamford.
The group's aim is to develop a new kind of electric traction driving system to be used in fully electric as well as hybrid electric cars.
So far they have managed to secure more than £500,000 in matched funding from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Technology Strategy Board. This forms part of the latest round of government support for research into alternative low-carbon auto technologies.
The team plans to start working soon on the development of a groundbreaking new electric drive system for electric cars that will make use of what is called "advanced high torque density switched reluctance motor technology."
The worldwide demand for hybrid vehicles is expected to soar over the next decade, but the ability to fulfil this demand is being hampered by supply problems - the motors that drive them make use of rare earth magnets, something that the group aims to eliminate.
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