New cluster to spark life into industry

A new cluster is being formed in the West Midlands to help drive forward the electric vehicle industry.

The University of Warwick Science Park is using its experience and expertise in developing clusters to boost the industry, which hasn’t developed in the way many had predicted. Investment in electric vehicle technology has not been matched by demand for electric vehicles.

The Science Park’s Techmark team has identified several opportunities for electric vehicle systems which don’t have the development costs of current electric vehicles and should offer significant early sales.  It has contacted many of the firms within the industry to find out what the barriers are to its growth and to start to address some of those issues.

Six companies in the region have now signed up to work with the Science Park to take part in the evaluation stage and they hope to produce a novel product by bringing their considerable skills together.

Dirk Schafer, of the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “By now, many thought the market for electric vehicles in the UK would have really taken off. Put simply, that hasn’t happened and no-one is 100 per cent sure why. There seems to have been everything but a market for the product.”

“We have carried out research with companies within this sector in the region to try to establish what difficulties they have faced and to gauge their view on what has stopped it really taking off.”

Bill Taylor, of Techmark, added: “We have strong experience in spotting and creating clusters and developing them. We have done it in the past with software, games, laser technology, food processing and others.

“We will be drawing on that experience to work with the companies who have signed up in order to really give the industry a kick-start.

“One of the aims will be to bring the skills together to develop a product that the group can take to market. We already have several other market based products in mind. If we can get this first product to market quickly then we should have the development route for other products already established.”

The cluster group has very diverse skills comprising of expertise in a number of different engineering disciplines and the commercialisation of products.

The member companies can provide anything from power electronics, embedded systems, engineering, motors, transmissions and electric systems for electric vehicles. The University of Warwick Science Park will provide idea generation, marketing and management services for the group.

The group will have a kick-off meeting in June at the University of Warwick Science Park to start with their joint efforts to develop their first product. The group is still open for applications from companies interested in joining. Please contact: Bill Taylor at either or on 02476 323117