SUNDERLAND is to become a global centre for the development of green vehicles.
Gateshead College is to create an International Centre for Low Carbon Vehicle Development after snapping up a 2,000sq m building next to Nissan and the new Turbine Business Park.
The college will use Barmston Court – once home to Nissan’s Design Centre – to build on the success of its neighbouring electric vehicle training centre, the Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation (SASMI), which opened last year.
College principal Richard Thorold said: “SASMI has been a huge success and is already operating at full capacity. We believe this new centre will echo that success but in different ways, supporting high-level research and development and training in the low-carbon vehicle sector in North East England.”
Managed by the college’s Zero Carbon Futures subsidiary company, the centre’s remit will include research and development to support new products and development of existing vehicles and components.
Key areas of work will include infrastructure development, research into batteries and energy storage and the development of home energy management systems linked to vehicles.
Zero Carbon Futures managing director Dr Colin Herron said: “We have a global reputation for low-carbon innovation and this centre will bring together the specialist expertise to help us to maintain that position and drive it forward for the benefit of the North East. The development of this centre is a cornerstone of our strategy to place us at the centre of worldwide product knowledge, development and research.”
Barmston Court was originally built as the Nissan Design Centre before the car giant moved the department to Cranfield in 1991. Most recently, it belonged to the Forensic Science Service, and some of the labs will be reused as clean rooms for the development of low-carbon vehicle technologies, particularly batteries.