A Birmingham-based automotive industry body coordinating the development of new generation cars and engines has won cash backing from the Government for a new project.
SMMT Foresight Vehicle, headed by Nick Barter, the former director of product development at Jaguar and Land Rover, has secured £1.9 million from the Department for Trade and Industry to help finance its LIFEcar initiative.
Details of LIFEcar have not yet been announced, but The Birmingham Post understands it centres on the development of a more environmentally-friendly type of sports car. The grant follows the allocation to Foresight Vehicle of funding totalling £16.8 million in 2004.
Projects backed by the Government include GASPART, a prototype pollution control technology that traps and destroys nano-sized exhaust particles, 2/4SIGHT, a small lightweight but powerful engine that automatically switches between two and four stroke operation, and APPLE, the development of a strong, lightweight and recyclable plastic chassis.
Mr Barter said: "We are a nation of innovators and the automotive sector has the best engineering expertise in the world.
"The key is to unlock that potential and this is where Foresight Vehicle and its team of experienced engineers has a track record for success."
More than 400 British companies and universities have been taking part in projects
co-ordinted by Foresight Vehicle, which is led by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The ambition is to make Britain the undisputed high technology leader in automotive design and development.
Programme manager Pat Selwood said: "Foresight Vehicle is not only revealing how vehicle design and manufacturing can be accelerated and costs reduced, but also researching valuable environmental issues and analysing the introduction of new materials and technologies.
"Other programmes are evaluating driver aids and passenger and pedestrian safety systems and looking at the part technology can play in helping to ease traffic flows and communicate vital information."