The report of the new automotive innovation and growth team (NAIGT), published today, sets out an integrated and strategic vision for the future development of the auto industry in the UK. A major emphasis of the report - and one emphatically supported by Ricardo - is the need to embrace the challenge of climate change and invest in technologies capable of providing innovative solutions in the form of safe and satisfying future low carbon vehicle products that customers want to buy
Ricardo has actively supported the work of the NAIGT since the inception of this industry-led project in April 2008, through its involvement as a working member of both the Technology & Low Carbon Product Development and the Technology & Low Carbon Infrastructure expert groups. In addition to this, Ricardo CEO, Dave Shemmans, has served as a member of the NAIGT steering group. Ricardo particularly supports the views expressed by the NAIGT of the opportunities facing the UK in the development, demonstration and implementation of new low carbon vehicle propulsion technologies which are capable, together with appropriate demand-side interventions, of delivering a more sustainable future model of personal transportation.
The emphases placed by the NAIGT respectively upon the increasing electrification of vehicle propulsion, on providing a vehicle recharging infrastructure with adequate capacity and density, and on the development of second generation biofuel powertrain technologies that enable the reduction of fossil fuel dependence of IC engines, reflect much of Ricardo's own activities in this area. To date Ricardo has successfully completed well in excess of one hundred hybrid, electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle programmes for automakers in all parts of the world and has developed a world-leading position in all aspects of the electrification of vehicle powertrain architectures. Recent successes in this area include assisting with the development of two hybrid vehicles for Chery Automobile of China - that country's first hybrids - and the conversion of a plug-in hybrid utility truck for a US power company which was inspected by President Barack Obama during a visit to that company in March 2009. Moreover, working with the range extended hybrid electric vehicle (REHEV) consortium project together with partners including Jaguar-Land Rover and E.ON, Ricardo published in April 2009 the results of its work demonstrating the capacity of the UK grid power infrastructure to support a significant rise in electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle use. Elsewhere in biofuel applications, Ricardo's ethanol boosted direct injection (EBDI) technology optimizes ethanol-fuelled engines to a level of performance that exceeds gasoline engine efficiency and approaches levels previously reached only by diesel engines. Similarly in compression ignited combustion, Ricardo's near-Zero emissions diesel (nZED) technology also delivers unparalleled emissions and combustions efficiency in a highly production-feasible package.
Commenting on today's publication of the NAIGT report Ricardo CEO, Dave Shemmans, said:
"Ricardo is proud to have been actively engaged in the work of the new automotive innovation and growth team. As a company our focus has always been upon developing next-generation technologies that will enable the creation of future more fuel efficient, low emissions and low carbon products that are as attractive to individual vehicle purchasers as they are to society as a whole in helping create a truly sustainable future for transportation. We believe that increasing vehicle electrification, hybridisation, second generation biofuels and high efficiency IC engine technologies all have their roles to play, alongside the policy innovations that will help create the infrastructure and prototype markets for future low carbon products. As such we find ourselves in strong agreement with the NAIGT report and share the project team's very positive vision of the future of the automotive industry in the UK.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Ricardo plc: With technical centres and offices in the UK, USA, Germany, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Russia, China, Japan, India and Korea, Ricardo is a leading independent technology provider and strategic consultant to the world's transportation sector industries. The company's engineering expertise ranges from vehicle systems integration, controls, electronics and software development, to the latest driveline and transmission systems and gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel cell powertrain technologies. Its customers include the world's major vehicle, engine and transmission manufacturers, tier 1 suppliers and leading motorsport teams. Ricardo is committed to excellence and industry leadership in people, technology and knowledge; approximately 70 per cent of its employees are highly qualified multi-disciplined professional engineers and technicians. A public company, Ricardo plc posted sales of £197.7 million in financial year 2008 and is a constituent of the FTSE techMark 100 index - a group of innovative technology companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. For more information, visit www.ricardo.com.