UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has launched a new government-funded initiative, the Driving the Electric Revolution challenge, calling on the UK to create the supply chains necessary to manufacture electric off-highway vehicles such to be used in sectors such as agriculture to help the country meet its carbon emissions target.
With a fund totalling nearly £80 million, UKRI is investing into electrification technologies to support the up-scale of Power Electronic, Machined and Drives (PEMD) manufacturing.
UKRI has challenged UK businesses to: use their research capability in PEMD to help industry create the supply chains necessary to manufacture the PEMD products developed here; identify gaps in the supply chains and help industry fill them; ensure cooperation and collaboration across all sectors; and help fill the skills gap by retraining, upskilling and repurposing engineers from traditional internal combustion businesses into PEMD supply chains.
The Driving the Electric Revolution challenge aims to provide funding opportunities for collaboration between SMEs, big businesses and academia to create innovative and cost-effective solutions.
The challenge has already invested in 40 PEMD projects, many that can be applied to off-highway vehicles, including a project looking into the design for manufacture of integrated e-hubs for agricultural vehicles.
The project led, by Performance Projects Limited, aims to integrate the motor, gearbox, brake and controller modules into a single unit designed specifically for Agritech requirements. The product design will be available in a range of power outputs, facilitating the scaling up and easy adoption of the technology across both vehicle and robot manufacturers.