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Multi-million pound low carbon vehicle development centre to open in North East England

Focused on developing new and existing vehicles and components, as well as infrastructure, battery technology and home energy management systems, the project is being managed by the college’s subsidiary Zero Carbon Futures and aims to promote partnerships between the automotive industry, academia and the public sector.

The centre will be housed within Barmston Court, which was the Nissan design centre until the team moved to Cranfield in 1991. For the last two decades, the building has been used by the Forensic Science Service, and many of the existing labs will be re-used as clean rooms once the redevelopment is complete.

This site places the centre adjacent to Nissan Manufacturing UK, where the European-market LEAF will be produced from April, and numerous Tier 1 automotive suppliers. Gateshead College’s Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation (SASMI), which opened last year, and the new Turbine Business Park are also nearby.

Partnership work between Gateshead College, sustainability experts Tadea, transport consultancy firm TRL and Zero Carbon Futures will be undertaken on-site, including a new training centre.

Dr Colin Herron, managing director of Zero Carbon Futures, said: ‘Low Carbon Vehicle development and research is an area of real economic growth for the area. The development of this centre is a cornerstone of our strategy to place us at the centre of worldwide product knowledge, development and research.’

Richard Thorold, principal and chief executive of Gateshead College, added: 'SASMI has been a huge success and is already operating at full capacity. We believe this new centre will echo that success but in different ways, supporting high level research and development and training in the low carbon vehicle sector in North East England.’

Alex Grant

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