North East England to become electric vehicle centre of excellence
Gateshead College, training agency Low Carbon Futures, low carbon specialist services provider Tadea and the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) signed the memorandum of understanding this week, with hopes that the project will encourage future technologies to be developed in the North East.
The region is already home to Nissan’s Sunderland plant, which will begin manufacturing the LEAF next March, as well as commercial vehicle manufacturer Smith Electric Vehicles and AVID Vehicles.
Each company said it was looking to contribute its own experience to the project. Gateshead College administers Charge Your Car, the region’s Plugged-in Places scheme, also offers the UK’s first electric vehicle apprenticeship in partnership with Smith Electric Vehicles.
The institution will provide a local base for Berkshire-headquartered TRL at its Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation, which features its own test track. TRL adds its experience of driver training and simulators to the programme.
Zero Carbon Futures, founded in 2011, is building on Regional Development Agency One North East’s work to develop a low carbon automotive and transport technology cluster in the North East. Tadea, meanwhile, offers advice and management services for sustainable energy and carbon reduction, as well as driver training, and is providing discounts against solar panel purchasing for businesses and consumers in the North East.