The UK's technology base was given a major boost today when Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC), a wholly-owned UK-based subsidiary of Tata Motors, announced that it will be expanding its partnership with WMG at the University of Warwick. TMETC plans to increase their team of highly skilled engineers working on the campus by 40 per cent over the next two years.
In addition to a recent substantial investment in UK startup Bladon Jets, developer of mini turbine range extenders to be first used in Tata's Jaguar supercar, Tata Motors has invested over £85m in automotive R&D at TMETC since it was established on the university campus in 2005. TMETC already has a team of 240 engineers and researchers working alongside WMG colleagues, with 60 of these hired over the last 12 months due to increased R&D investment. TMETC announced that it aims to increase the engineering and research force by a further 100 to 340 by 2013. All this adds up to serious electric vehicle competition for General Motors with its Adam Opel subsidiary in Europe and Daimler AG with Mercedes Benz, Smart and its Tesla Motors investment.
Tim Leverton, Head of Advanced and Product Engineering, Tata Motors, said, "Today's announcement represents a further demonstration of Tata's long-term commitment to build and develop R&D facilities here in the UK. TMETC plays a vital role in Tata Motors' global R&D network. Tata Motors gets access to world-class thoughts, skills and technologies through the TMETC and its collaboration with WMG. The contribution of TMETC and WMG is important to Tata Motors product development."
TMETC's engineers, who have extensive experience in automotive research, design and development, work alongside WMG researchers in low carbon technology collaborative R&D programmes. The focus on low carbon technology has already started to produce tangible results, for example Tata Motors' Vista Electric Vehicle which will be built at a factory in Coventry and will be available to fleet customers in the UK later this year.
Tata Motors' Pixel city car, which was unveiled by Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons and Tata Motors, and Carl-Peter Forster, MD and group CEO, Tata Motors, at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month, has also been developed on WMG campus. Based on the Tata Nano, the Tata Pixel is a concept car aimed at the European market and features a 'zero turn infinitely variable transmission' which gives it a turning circle radius of just 2.6 metres, making it ideal for driving in dense urban environments.
Nick Fell, director, TMETC, said, "WMG and TMETC are building on five years of successful partnership to further grow TMETC's presence at the University of Warwick. We plan to further increase our team on the campus by up to 100 over the next two years, and are discussing establishing test and development facilities here. This shows a clear commitment to build and develop our R&D and facilities here in the UK in collaboration with WMG for the long term."
This was supported by WMG director, Lord Bhattacharyya, who said, "Technology businesses such as Tata are crucial to us solving global challenges that will require new thinking energy, climate change related technologies. Tata's work alongside WMG will meet those challenges and will even lead the field in new low carbon technologies. Tata's Pixel concept city car is a clear symbol of Tata's current technological prowess and its future aspirations."
The announcement comes shortly after research by the Council for Industry and Higher Education which indicates that Britain's manufacturing sector could be re-energised by a closer collaboration between companies and the science and technology departments at top universities.
The giant automotive companies with electric vehlcle interests take a global view. For example, Daimler AG has Mercedes Benz, Smart and its Tesla Motors ivestment, GM has its Adam Opel and other subsidiaries across the world. Now smaller automotive companies such as Tara International and Alke' are also expanding globally with electric vehicles. A similar thing is happening with aerospace companies involved in electric aircraft such as EADS.
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Source: Tata Motors