Midlands to be eco car centre

Attempts to rekindle the Midlands motor industry in a greener shade were unveiled today with a £19m cash injection from Government.

The region has been designated a new Low Carbon Economic Area (LCEA) and is pulling in the government funding for research into and development of low carbon vehicles, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, announced today.

Visiting the International Manufacturing Centre at the University of Warwick to launch the LCEA, Lord Mandelson said: "I want to see the Midlands help the UK to lead the global automotive industry in the transition from conventional to low carbon vehicle technologies.

"The LCEA will send a clear signal to the global market about the Midlands' strengths in advanced automotive engineering.

"The move towards a low carbon economy presents huge opportunities. This new funding will help secure the Midlands' 10,000 existing car industry jobs, by helping transform them into the green car jobs of the future."

Chief executive of the International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies (FISITA), Ian Dickie,told edie: "We welcome the £19 million investment unveiled by Lord Mandelson today, into the development of low carbon vehicles.

"The announcement comes in the wake of yesterday's 'Oil Crunch' report and highlights the urgent need for action on energy by governments, the automotive industry, energy sector and consumers.

"Unfortunately there is no "silver bullet" to tackle the problem of transport energy.

"Electric vehicles are the focus of much attention today, but without renewable sources of electricity we will still be reliant on fossil fuels to power them.

"We need action in the short term to optimise the fuel efficiency of current vehicles, not only through improvements in vehicle technology but also in consumer behaviour and intelligent traffic management. Both of these steps have the potential to improve energy efficiency by up to 30 per cent."

Luke Walsh


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