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UK: Grant addresses range anxiety for electric cars

TWO innovative North East firms have been gifted £300,000 to develop a technology that will help electric cars stay powered for longer.

Cramlington-based Hyperdrive Innovation and SR Technology Innovations from Durham are hoping that their electric vehicle range extender will create a boost in the uptake of electric vehicles.

So-called range anxiety, in other words the fear of running out of power before you’ve reached your destination, means some motorists are yet to be convinced about converting to an electric vehicle.

Hyperdrive managing director Stephen Irish said: “The range extender works by generating electricity on board the vehicle in an efficient way, with a lightweight and low-cost design.

“This means we can significantly extend the travelling time by up to 300 miles between recharges.

“We’ve already had interest from a number of car makers and the supply chain and with this money we hope to develop the product further and bring it to market.

“The range extender sits alongside the other technology we are developing and we want to grow quite aggressively.

“We predict between 200 and 300% growth in our turnover on the back of the success of this product.”

Tim Scott of SR Technology Innovations believes that the two-year project is a good use of his company’s in-house engine test and development capabilities.

He said: “It’s an exciting project as it allows us to combine our motor sport biodiesel engine experience with our hybrid power systems and adds further to the low-carbon vehicle technologies we can provide from the North East.”

As well as helping to increase the demand for low-carbon vehicles, the firms will create around 30 new jobs in their own companies, as well as a further 15 in the wider supply chain.
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