A new centre in Sunderland that aims to position the UK a focus for the development and integration of low carbon vehicle technologies is set to open its doors on June 9th.
Developed by Zero Carbon Futures and managed by Gateshead College, the Future Technology Centre provides a unique combination of offices, research and development space, manufacturing facilities, training and classroom space as well as proximity to a dedicated LCV performance test track supported by a complete range of charging infrastructure.
The region’s first purpose built centre for automotive development is located in the heart of the automotive industry in Washington, Sunderland and is part of the A19 Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Corridor Enterprise Zone. Owned and managed by Gateshead College, the £4.48m Future Technology Centre is the first of its kind in Europe and provides companies working in the automotive and low carbon vehicle sector with the opportunity to develop and commercialise innovative technologies. The facility has received £2.36m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, with £2.12m investment from the College.
“The Future Technology Centre is crucial to the successful development and implementation of low carbon vehicle technologies, and is central to the North East becoming the UK’s technology hub in this emerging sector,” says Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive of Gateshead College. “This financial commitment is indicative of the College’s investment in the future of its students, working to secure sustainable employment for people in the region while also attracting leading expertise to the area. As well as boosting the region’s economy through nurturing business and securing long-term employment growth, the Future Technology Centre is an invaluable resource for companies developing low carbon vehicle technologies which will play a pivotal role in evolving the UK’s capability and becoming a European leader.”
Confirmed tenants of the Future Technology Centre include Zero Carbon Futures, Smith Electric Vehicles; Hyperdrive Innovation and charge point installation experts ELM EV.
“The North East has been an ambassador for the adoption of low carbon vehicle technology, from boasting the largest proportion of EVs per head in the UK to implementing a fully-connected network of quick-charge points, and the Future Technology Centre can work to accelerate the UK’s ongoing integration of these technologies,” says Dr. Colin Herron, managing director of Gateshead College’s subsidiary companies, Zero Carbon Futures. “Through its partnerships and collaborative projects the Centre will become a home to academic research, automotive supply chain operations, skills and training provision to act as a springboard to real-world adoption of new and emerging technologies.”
The Government’s Regional Growth Fund is a £3.2 billion fund designed to help companies in England to grow. It supports projects and programmes committed to leveraging private investment and delivering sustainable jobs. A sixth round of funding will launch in June. For more information, please go to www.bis.gov.uk/rgf.