£32 million funding for next generation trucks

A new centre of technology for electric HGV powertrain is being established in Wales.

The Government has injected almost £32 million of funding into developing electric propulsion systems for heavy goods vehicles. The project in Cwmbran, Wales, will develop lightweight electric powertrain for commercial vehicles.

The technology could be applied in a range of ways, such as giving lorries greater travel range and better energy efficiency for coaches and construction vehicles.

The EPIC project (Electric Powertrain Integration for Heavy Commercial Vehicles) led by Meritor integrates the key elements of motor, inverter, gearbox, differential and brakes in a single lightweight system for vehicles up to 44 tonnes and includes coaches, off-highway and construction vehicles.

A total of £54 million was allocated to 3 projects in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales. In Northern Ireland, investment went to Ballymena to design and build fuel cell technology for buses.

In England, an integrated motor and energy recovery system for cars and vans based on motorsport technology will be developed in Warwickshire.

The 3 projects are forecasted to secure 10,000 jobs and have been designed to level up industry and employment opportunities across the UK.

A spokesperson for Meritor said: “This grant will put Meritor’s highly skilled Welsh-based engineering team at the forefront of advanced commercial vehicle technologies, positioning South East Wales as the premier location for companies developing clean transportation and technologies. Meritor’s existing air disc brake facility in Cwmbran will house a new European eMobility Centre of Excellence with expanded laboratory and R&D facilities.”

Meritor’s Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, John Bennett, said: “With this award, our consortium will develop a game-changing electric powertrain for heavy-duty 4x2 and 6x2 vehicles up to 44 tonnes. This technology will provide commercial vehicle OEMs with the optimal solution to meet EU 2025 CO2 reduction targets, in addition to a host of other product benefits including greater efficiency, reduced weight, longer-range capability, and far greater application flexibility when compared to existing systems.”

The funding is projected to save 45 million tonnes of carbon emissions, equal to the total amount of emissions produced by 1.8 million cars over their lifetimes.