23 January 2017
INTERNATIONAL TRADE SECRETARY LIAM FOX PRAISES PRODRIVE'S CROSS-SECTORAL SUCCESS
Following the launch of the Industrial Strategy green paper today (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/building-our-industrial-strategy) International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, visited leading advanced technology and motorsport business, Prodrive to reiterate the Government’s commitment to supporting UK industry to grow at home and abroad.
During the visit, the International Trade Secretary outlined the steps Government is taking to support trade and investment across the country which can have a crucial impact on the growth of local economies.
The Secretary of State saw for himself a number of projects in the automotive, aerospace, marine and renewable energy markets that Prodrive is working on for clients including Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Volvo and McLaren. This included the very latest launched only this week - a new hybrid Ford Transit van. The new vehicle is part of a multi-million pound project designed to help improve air quality in London. Prodrive has helped develop the hybrid drivetrain and will build the 20 PHEV (Plug-in Electric Hybrid Vehicle) Transits. These will be provided to a range of businesses across London, including Transport for London’s fleet, to explore how such vans can contribute to cleaner air targets while boosting productivity for operators in urban conditions – the toughest working environment for vehicles. The project is supported financially by the U.K. Government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre.
The Secretary of State was also shown Prodrive’s new Hummingbird folding bike and he was amazed to feel how light the carbon-framed bike is - at just 6.7 kg, the lightest of its kind in the world.
The Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, said:
“Trade and investment is a vital part of building an economy that works for all, creating jobs and transforming local communities and industry.
“Across the UK we’re pioneering a whole host of new technologies, working with industry and universities to ensure Britain remains the location of choice for many sectors, such as the next-generation automotive industry. Prodrive is a fantastic example of innovative British automotive engineering at its best and a great illustration of our how we can and should be exporting our world-class expertise to benefit our economy.
“The UK is open and ready for business and the launch of the Industrial Strategy today shows our commitment to improving growth and productivity across the whole country.”
The Department for International Trade is leading Government work to continue to champion free trade and ensure it helps deliver an economy that works for everyone.
Following the decision to leave the European Union, the UK has the opportunity to develop its new trading arrangements and take forward its ambition to become a global trading nation and champion of free trade.
The project, supported by Transport for London, features a 12-month trial of 20 new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Transit Custom vans that reduce local emissions by running solely on electric power for the majority of city trips such as deliveries or maintenance work.
Commercial vehicles in London make 280,000 journeys on a typical weekday, travelling a total distance of 8 million miles. Vans represent 75 per cent of peak freight traffic, with over 7,000 vehicles per hour driving at peak times in Central London alone.
Prodrive has helped develop the hybrid drivetrain and will build the 20 PHEV Transits, which Ford will provide to a range of commercial fleets across London, including Transport for London’s fleet, to explore how such vans can contribute to cleaner air targets while boosting productivity for operators in urban conditions – the toughest working environment for vehicles. The project is supported financially by the U.K. Government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre.
“This exciting project in London shows how innovative technology can help improve the prosperity and quality of life in our congested cities,” said Jim Farley, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe. “Ford is the top selling commercial vehicle brand in Europe, so it’s fitting that this Transit plug-in hybrid is leading the electric vehicle revolution for business users.”
Ford is focusing its EV plan on its areas of strength – electrifying its most popular, high-volume commercial vehicles, trucks, SUVs and performance vehicles to make them even more capable, productive and fun to drive – plus more fuel efficient.
Scheduled to launch in autumn this year, the fleet trial is part of Ford’s commitment to work with major cities around the world to tackle their local transport challenges, and help people and goods move more easily.
“The freight sector’s transition to ultra-low emission vehicles is central to cleaning up London’s toxic air,” said Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.
“Transport for London continues to lead by example by increasing the number of its own vehicles that are electric and will find the data from these trials an invaluable resource for the LoCITY programme, which encourages the uptake of low emission commercial transport.”
The Transit Custom PHEV vans in the London trial are an advanced design that allows them to be charged with mains electricity for zero-emission journeys, while featuring an efficient on-board combustion engine for extended range when longer trips are required. Ford is the first volume manufacturer to offer PHEV technology in this segment of the van market.
The trial fleet will operate in everyday use across a cross-section of city-based businesses, using a Ford telematics system to collect data on the vehicles’ financial, operational and environmental performance to help understand how the benefits of electrified vehicles can be maximised.
Development of the 20 Transit Custom PHEV fleet trial vehicles has been supported by a £4.7m grant from the Advanced Propulsion Centre.
“The U.K. is a global leader in low emission motor technology. This new project, with nearly £5 million of government money, has secured work here in the U.K. and demonstrates our commitment to not only reducing carbon emissions, but to work with industry on developing next generation technology that will make a real difference to people’s lives,” said Nick Hurd, Climate Change and Industry Minister. “This government will continue to work with the auto sector as we develop a comprehensive Industrial Strategy that will increase productivity, create high skilled jobs and ensure sustainable economic growth.”
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