University of Sussex student Joshua de Wit wins this year’s award for his innovative EV graphene battery concept
Sam Sheehan
29 November 2016

Second-year University of Sussex mechanical engineering student Joshua de Wit is the 2016 Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award winner.

The 21-year-old’s concept, which was revealed as the winner at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) annual dinner tonight, uses an innovative graphene battery that makes best use of the material's conductivity, lightness and strength to introduce a completely new design.

De Wit’s stacked graphene battery design drastically shortens charging times and the flexibility of the material means far less is needed, which reduces cost, weight, storage capacity and size and maximises efficiency.

De Wit will now embark on a six-month work experience tour of award sponsors Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Nissan, Peugeot and Toyota. He said: “It is a privilege to be presented with the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award. From the outset, this has been a challenging but rewarding experience and the mentoring programme has really helped me to develop my idea and push myself further.

“I’m now excited at the prospect of working with some of the world’s most renowned vehicle manufacturers – experience which, I’ve no doubt, will stand me in excellent stead for carving out a career after university.”

This year’s competition was another closely fought one. The two other finalists also impressed judges with unique and innovative entries. Joel Hayes from Northumbria University presented an autonomous vehicle promotion campaign called ‘Be Driven’ and Manuel Agustin Yepez Corsetti from the University of Glasgow created a concept that harvests waste energy with thermo-electric materials.

Martin Bohling, ‎global managing partner at Courland Automotive, said: “It is truly a delight and honour to be involved in this award and to have the opportunity to meet such capable, passionate and extraordinary young talent. We will indeed be fortunate to have any one of the finalists pursue a career in the automotive industry.”

Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley said: “This award continues to go from strength to strength in its quest to identify, nurture and inspire the talent of the future for the automotive industry. It has been extremely difficult this year to narrow our entries down to just a handful – a testament to how talented and impressive the entries were this year.

“I would like to personally congratulate not only the winner, Joshua, but also the finalists, who came extremely close. The ideas and concepts they all produced were some of the finest the award has seen and it was difficult to choose a clear winner. If this award is anything to go by, the future is certainly bright for the automotive industry.”

Applications for the 2017 Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award will open early next year. For more information, visit Autocar Next Generation Award.

Our Verdict

The original pioneer of the crossover range the Honda CR-V makes a comeback bid

Former pioneer makes comeback bid. Is success within its grasp?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Citroën C3 Aircross
    First Drive
    17 October 2017
    It's got funky looks and a charming interior, but it's another small SUV, and another dynamic miss. Numb steering is just one thing keeping it from class best
  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again