Currently reading: UK Industrial Strategy confirms new autonomous vehicle test centre
The Government has announced plans to boost UK's role as automotive tech world leader in today's green paper; it predicts EVs will force major changes to electric grid

The Government's 2017 Industrial Strategy report has outlined plans for a new autonomous and connected vehicle test centre, which will be built to boost the UK's role as an automotive technology world leader.

The yet to be located site (more details of which will be revealed this spring), will boost the UK's armoury for the development of future automotive tech. It currently includes an Advanced Propulsion Centre that was built in Coventry in 2013, which came as part of the Government's £1 billion investment plan into low carbon transport technology.

Nissan to start autonomous vehicle demos in Britain

Today's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy green paper also predicts that the UK's electricity grid will need to be heavily upgraded in order to cater for the power demands of electric vehicles. It says "Ensuring that our grid is smart and resilient to new demands - and new sources of supply - will be important for energy security, cost and industrial opportunities."

Brexit: EU single market is ‘critical’ to UK automotive sector

UK chief scientific adviser, Sir Mark Walport, will head new research on grid technology, battery technology and energy storage. The use of electric cars to supply energy back into the grid is listed as an area of interest.

Additionally, the new strategy highlights the importance of balancing the UK's economy and lists the Government's £1.1 billion of funding for local roads and public transport networks as a key tool to equal out national investment.

The paper suggests taxes could be adjusted for the research and development sector as a whole to help stimulate investment in Britain in the face of Brexit. It adds "[The Government] will advise on how best to build on the excellence of UK research and innovation, maximising the opportunity of the UK’s exit from the European Union." Such changes could benefit the UK's automotive sector.

Nissan and Toyota back UK despite EU single market announcement

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Les-Paul 23 January 2017

This is all very positive and

This is all very positive and good news for the industry. However, Cranfield University announced back in June 2015 that they're doing exactly this, in collaboration with SEMLEP and The Transport Catapult (who are responsible for the pod pictured at the top of the article). It would be counter productive for two such similar projects to co-exist, at least initially and especially when both have Government backing of one form or another. So, is this announcement further endorsement of Cranfield's facility or something new? I wouldn't be surprised if the facility referred to above was to be at Warwick Uni with the rest of the APC.

sierra 23 January 2017

No simple solutions

There are very few actual car "manufacturing plants", the vast majority are assembly plants bringing together components from worldwide EU and non-EU suppliers. Consequently the tariffs issue is very complex - both for the imported components and exported final product. The time estimates for completing trade deals stretching out to 10+ years may sound ridiculous, but industry should be prepared, and hope existing foreign-owned assemblers don't lose patience and move away
Mikey C 23 January 2017


As an example. Ford export engines from the UK (and gearboxes from Getrag Ford), BMW export engines from the UK, which are then re-imported as whole cars!

The same applies to component suppliers, the days of a (more or less) 100% British or German car are long gone

voyager12 23 January 2017

Of course the auto industry is important...

The main issue is how to avoid having to pay import tariffs when UK made cars are being exported to the EU. That will be a tough one. The 'cherry picking' can be reversed too - each of the EU countries may turn out to be against the UK getting a good deal for various reasons. For instance, have car brands set up manufacturing plants in their country or to give their own car brands a competitive edge. May's threat of making the UK some sort of tax haven just at the border of the EU may too ricochet.