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Zytek awarded £1.35m funding to develop electric powertrain technologies centre of excellence

02 November 2011

Clean vehicle technology specialist Zytek has won a £1.35 million grant from the government’s Regional Growth Fund to support the development of an Electric Powertrain Technologies Centre. Based at the company’s technical centre at Fradley in Staffordshire (UK), the new facility will create 44 jobs developing low carbon technologies for the automotive and other industries. A further £3.65 million will be invested by Zytek, bringing the total up to £5 million.

Zytek's facility at Fradley, Staffordshire
Zytek's facility at Fradley, Staffordshire

“Zytek has many years experience developing and integrating advanced electric and hybrid powertrains for several of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers,” says managing director Neil Heslington. “This new investment will ensure that we can continue to drive innovation, allowing us to introduce next-generation technologies that will significantly improve the range and cost of electric and hybrid vehicles.”

The main focus of the centre will be on the development of high-efficiency, light-weight electric motors, inverters and energy storage systems. “Electric vehicles are at an interesting phase in their development, where significant improvements can be made by taking a clean sheet of paper approach to a number of systems, particularly the power electronics and energy storage systems,” explains Heslington. “That’s exactly what we will be doing here, with a focus on delivering the safety, durability and affordability needed for the next generation of volume production vehicles.”

As well as employing new staff, Zytek will step-up its training for existing personnel. Topics will range from the latest technologies and analytical techniques to test procedures, with some courses leading to qualifications through partnering academic institutions. Zytek’s own investment will also strengthen the company’s analytical facilities, particularly in thermal characterisation and efficiency analysis, which it believes are key areas of expertise for size, cost and weight reduction.

“The award of an RGF grant is brilliant news for Zytek as it underpins our planned £5million investment in people, test  facilities and infrastructure,“ concludes Chief Finance Officer Kerry Diamond. “ We are most grateful for the support provided by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, in our application for this important grant.” All RGF grants are conditional on a successful due diligence assessment.

Zytek Automotive has designed and integrated electric drive systems for a wide range of European and US vehicle manufacturers. The company is currently building high performance electric drivetrains from 25kW -70kW and has drives of 100kW and more in development to meet growing demand for zero emissions light commercial vehicles and high-performance passenger cars. Their UK facility can integrate up to 6,000 E drives a year in batches as low as 100, providing vehicle manufacturers with a highly flexible specialist production resource for their low carbon vehicle programmes.

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