Niche Vehicle Network

Proof of Concept / 2019

Body panels in recycled carbon fibre composite


Carbon fibre has a vital role to play in vehicle light-weighting. However carbon fibre is very energy intensive to produce so re-using and recycling this material is also vital in order to gain it's full environmental benefit. Existing vehicle legislation requires that materials are recycled and vehicle end of life quantities of carbon fibre are increasing. This project explores the application of the recycled carbon fibre through the development and demonstration of a vehicle roof and tailgate for an electric hearse. Each partner will take the project knowledge forward to a variety of applications.

Proof of Concept / 2019

Battery Passport


Electric vehicle batteries need replacing when their usable capacity decreases. At this point they can be recycled or re-purposed to another industrial application such as domestic energy. The problem is knowing whether a battery is good or bad. The Battery Passport is equivalent of an odometer for the electric vehicle batteries. It provides a robust mechanism that records battery usage over its life and assures future buyers of the worth of the batteries, thus reducing the net cost and CO2 footprint of an electric vehicle. The Battery Passport must be tamper-proof and uses innovations such as Blockchain and CAN Cybersecurity.

Production Readiness / 2019

RIFT (Reduced Induction Field Torque Drive) A novel electric motor configuration that reduces the material and manufacturing cost of electric motors by up to 80%.


The “RIFT” EV motor is an innovative approach to an ultra-efficient electric drive, bringing forward a unique range of advantages including, significant weight reduction (circa 50%), lower cost and that results in a range increase of up to 75%, plus other benefits.

The consortium of RIFT, MCP and Bradshaw bring together innovation, production expertise, customer knowledge and route to market. This leads to a strong project to improve the production readiness of the RIFT Motor for the automotive sector and is intended to establish a lasting commercial relationship between the parties.

Proof of Concept / 2019

Low Cost 48v Mild Hybrid add-on solution


Hybridisation of the powertrain is an automotive megatrend, with vehicle manufacturers looking to electrify their products, however the costly nature of developing and manufacturing a hybrid system is a big drawback to its application in niche vehicle products.

RML Group and chosen partners (Caterham and Xtrac), have collaborated to share their industry knowledge, skills and expertise to investigate the integration of a 48v mild hybrid system for low volume road-car applications in a cost effective solution, which provides numerous environmental and drivability benefits of such a system. There is also future scope to integrate the proposed systems into motorsport applications.

Proof of Concept / 2019

ACRIM-Wheel (All Composite Reduced Inertia Modular Wheels)


ACRIM-Wheel is a proof-of-concept project to produce the world’s first commercially viable, low cost, lightweight, all-composite, modular wheel system for niche and electric vehicle applications. It will demonstrate the durability of composite wheels and quantify improvements made to vehicle efficiency. During frequent start/stop duty cycles it is predicted that lightweight, optimised wheels can improve efficiency by up to 10%. Cost will be minimised via a unique modular configuration and by utilising cutting edge composite processing technology. ACRIM-Wheel will draw on the UK’s world renowned composites expertise to develop and prove a radically different and innovative wheel concept.

Proof of Concept / 2019

Project 356


Project 356 will build upon the SEV and Faraday Challenge battery case feasibility studies to deliver a proof of concept prototype vehicle, demonstrating a step change in electric vehicle platform accessibility for niche vehicle manufacturers across passenger, sportscar and commercial vehicle sectors.

The partners will design, manufacture and demonstrate an integrated chassis platform, utilising battery modules and drivetrain components sourced from Nissan, which will eliminate the requirement for a stand-alone battery enclosure. The chassis and electrical platform will be flexible and scalable to meet wide ranging requirements for multiple vehicle types, demonstrated on a passenger vehicle application in this project.

Proof of Concept / 2019

ALECS, “Articulating Lightweight Electric Cargo Solution”


ALECS is an NVN Proof of Concept project that will produce an innovative and lightweight last mile delivery e-trike. Project partners are Pashley Cycles (project lead and vehicle demonstration), Simpact (engineering consultancy and suspension specialists) and Reynolds (specialists in the supply of lightweight tubing). Low overall mass and articulating chassis will be achieved using lightweight materials and novel suspension technology. The concept will be demonstrated in the delivery livery of our observer partner, Serco. The developed concept will deliver a safe, zero emission, efficient last mile delivery vehicle and on a configurable multi-function platform, opening up a significant market opportunity.

Production Readiness / 2019

Ariel Lightweight Electric Cycle 2 (ALEC 2)


The project will take the successful output of the 2018 ALEC technology transfer project and progress the machine toward production readiness.

The Partners will apply latest automotive motor, battery system, inverter and control technology to deliver a step change in Pedelec integration and rider controls. Advanced automotive jointing, bonding and mixed material production technology will provide lower weight, improve ride quality and deliver UK based cost down manufacturing.

The project will utilise these technology and design benefits to deliver an integrated electrified cycle that delivers a 40% weight reduction over industry standards, increasing consumer appeal, experience, performance and range.

Proof of Concept / 2019

Cargo POD


Following a commercial feasibility study with Emirates Airline,Westfield have created,with Heathrow/ZapGo,a specification/design for an electric inwheel powered autonomous cargo pod that is able to take aircraft akes(baggage containers) and ULDs (Unit Loading Device containers)all using the same self powered platform.This will decrease the emissions airside(Currently using red diesel),reduce delays at airports by automating the landside to airside security check and increase utilisation of vehicles by minimising charging time using an advanced carbon ion hybrid power plant and fast charge system.The vehicle will be equipped with an AI control system that will optimise the use of Lithium and Carbon Ion power.