For 30 years WMG has been at the forefront of using new materials, challenging conventional thinking to help business and industry develop innovative3130_0019.jpg products. Concerns about the environment and use of natural resources have been embedded in our research for many years. Driven by a research team which combines both industrial and academic experience, WMG’s research expertise ensures delivery of innovative solutions for our partners. WMG has had a strong relationship with the automotive industry, having collaborated on a number of high profile projects.

In 2003 WMG launched the £72M Premium Automotive R&D (PARD) Programme, which was supported by Advantage West Midlands (AWM) and JLR with the purpose to improve the design and manufacturing capability of the West Midlands automotive supply base. At its height a multi-disciplinary team of over one hundred professional engineers and academics worked on nineteen separate projects within WMG. Several hundred companies of all sizes were involved, from the largest partner JLR, through major Tier 1 suppliers, to numerous smaller operations. The programme has delivered over 640 business assists, 5700 jobs safeguarded and introduced over 270 new products and processes.

cnc_measuring_7.jpgThe success of the PARD Programme has led to the launch of two new Premium Vehicle Centres of Excellence, jointly funded by AWM and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Premium Vehicle Lightweight Technologies Centre is focused on finding new and innovative ways to reduce the weight of cars, thus reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The Premium Vehicle Customer Interface Technologies Centre is a unique research and development facility that provides companies direct access to the latest product evaluation technologies and processes along with the expertise to identify solutions appropriate to real world engineering problems.

The impact of the PARD programme and ongoing contribution of the Premium Vehicle Centres of Excellence helped contribute to the creation by the Government of the Midlands Low Carbon Economic Area for Advanced Automotive Engineering in February 2010. Lord Mandelson, the former Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, launched the Economic Area and the £29m Low Carbon Vehicle Technology Project which is funded by AWM, ERDF and industry.

This collaborative research and development project is set to shape the future of passenger transport. The aim is to develop and validate a range of new technologies, which will result in the significant reduction of CO2 emissions from automotive vehicles. Fifteen workstreams will be delivered by the project partners WMG, Jaguar Land Rover, TATA Motors, Ricardo and Zytek, supported by Coventry University, MIRA, Cranfield University and Midlands based supply chain companies. WMG is leading on three workstreams: Power Electronics, Lightweight Structures and Human Machine. The first prototypes should be ready by 2012, with full manufacture of vehicles featuring low carbon technologies by 2013/14.

For more information on the project contact Project Director John O’Connor on j.o’connor@warwick.ac.uk