The UK government has today announced a £1 billion commitment to helping develop future automotive technologies in the UK. This will see the incorporation of an Advanced Propulsion Centre in the UK which will attract nearly 8,000 apprentices and just under 2,000 graduates over the next five years. This is a major commitment from the UK government to an industry which is changing and growing rapidly with the introduction of electric vehicles now taking centre stage.
The scheme is being backed by an array of major car manufacturers such as Bentley, BMW, Jaguar, Lotus, Nissan and many others. It is this backing of the scheme which will almost certainly lead to successful new technologies introduced in the years ahead.
The UK government reignites the automotive industry
The automotive industry in the UK has been struggling for some time and indeed the vast majority manufacturing capacity has now moved overseas. In many ways we are left with an inventive and an entrepreneurial sector although historically the UK has struggled to convert credible ideas into cold hard businesses. The fact that the government has invested so much money into this particular scheme, which is backed by an array of the world's leading car manufacturers, could in a perfect scenario reignite and rebuild the UK automotive industry in the longer term.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "There have been ideas, rumors and actual prototypes of new technology emerge over the years. What type of new transport technology would you like to see? Do you think magnetic powered trains are the future? Do you see a place for individual travel pods? Solar power? Or anything else catch your eye?"
Interestingly the government has also promised that the vast array of contracts connected with the £1 billion funding initiative will be awarded to UK operations. This will ensure that UK government funding for innovative and entrepreneurial ideas remains within the UK and the UK economy/UK government benefit in the longer term.
Ideas, ideas, ideas
If you look back in history, the UK has been an integral part of the worldwide innovation and entrepreneurial sector with a particularly strong presence, in years gone by, in the automotive industry. This inability to translate credible ideas into cold hard businesses is something that the UK government and indeed the UK business arena have been very aware of for some time. It will be interesting to see whether this move actually translate into cold hard cash, job opportunities, and new employment markets, or indeed whether the initial £1 billion funding turns out to be smoke and mirrors.
The fact is, that the UK automotive industry now exports four out of every five vehicles manufactured in the UK. The UK government has historically offered an array of financial incentives to the likes of Nissan, etc., to create long-term operations in the UK and the electric car industry is obviously the next natural progression. If the UK government can work with electric car manufacturers to improve technology, reduce the cost of vehicles and also create a very large and prominent electric vehicle sector, this will benefit the country on so many different levels.
We can only hope that this £1 billion financial initiative from the UK government is followed through, actually materialises and is focused in the right areas. Historically, these headline grabbing initiatives have not always led to job opportunities within the UK with much of the downstream operations often transferred overseas.
The more ideas and inventions that the UK government/ UK business arena are able to retain, the more chance of building new groundbreaking business sectors in the future.