Sunderland business bought by US firm backed by Bill Gates and Iron Man as part of £100million investment

An award-winning Wearside business has been snapped up by an American firm backed by Amazon, Bill Gates and even Iron Man.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 1:46 pm

Washington-based Hyperdrive Innovation, which designs and manufactures high-performance battery systems, scooped the Medium Business of the Year and Best Use of Technology trophies at the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards in 2019 and earlier this year picked up the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

The firm has been acquired by California-based Turntide Technologies, which is developing new, more efficient, electric motors.

Earlier this year, Turntide announced it had raised $80million from investors including Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, and Tony Stark actor Robert Downey Jr.’s Footprint Coalition Ventures.

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Funds backed by Robert Downey Jnr (left) and Bill Gates have backed Turntide

Now the company has moved into the commercial transport sector with the launch of a new division, Turntide Transport, and the acquisition of Hyperdrive and the engineering technical centre business of BorgWarner Gateshead Limited.

Turntide Transport will set up operations in Gateshead, marking the beginning of a multi-year £100million investment in the North East.

The firm says commercial transport is still a long way behind other industries in going green and the transportation industry accounts for 24 percent of global CO2 emissions from direct fuel consumption.

While more passenger cars are being replaced by electric vehicles, the carbon footprint of freight transportation continues to grow.

Hyperdrive has been taken over by California-based Turntide

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Between 2010 and 2050, global CO2 emissions from freight transport are expected to increase fourfold.

“Our world is at a tipping point. We desperately need to reduce our carbon emissions, but they continue to rise despite the accelerating electrification of passenger vehicles,” said Ryan Morris, Turntide’s Chairman and CEO.

“We are excited to incorporate the experience and innovation that these two businesses have to offer as we launch into the transport market with our initial reference customers.”

Ryan Morris

The acquisition of Hyperdrive Innovation will allow Turntide to include energy storage in its products, while the Gateshead Technical Centre has been designing power electronics for a wide range of vehicles for more than five decades.

“North East England has a strong track-record of industrial and automotive innovation, which we are keen to part of with the formation of Turntide Transport,” said Mr Morris.

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