• NATALIA SOUSA

Innervated Vehicle Engineering re-imagine the future of sustainable vans at MIRA Technology Park

Following on from the recent announcement of a new green hydrogen production and refuelling facility, MIRA Technology Park's cluster momentum for next-generation mobility businesses has again accelerated forward by another step. Innervated Vehicle Engineering aims to challenge the foundations of the light goods vehicle (LGV) market with the development of the van of the future from its new operation at MIRA Technology Park (MTP).


Ram Gokal, CEO of Innervated Vehicle Engineering said, "Finding a home for IVe has not been straightforward, but we have found all we need and more at MTP. There are many like-minded businesses looking to build the future of post carbon-based mobility here, so we are among great company, but above all, our personal connection with the team at MTP made all the difference to choosing where to base ourselves."

Innervated Vehicle Engineering (IVE), says it has identified that the 2.5 million diesel vans on the UK roads are environmentally unsustainable in the near term. However, despite the issue, there appears to be no complete solution to provide fleet owners with a low total cost of ownership options that are emissions-free yet can manage a 1.5-tonne payload across a daily itinerary of over 600km.

The company says its IndiGo, which was developed at MIRA Technology Park, meets this requirement precisely. The company's engineering team has dispensed with all conventions that have governed light goods vehicle design and engineering for the past six decades. Its industry experience is derived from executive leadership at companies including Prodrive, McLaren, Cummins, Alexander Dennis, GM, and FIAT. IndiGo uses a clean and modular hydrogen fuel-cell propulsion drivetrain. In addition, it features organic and non-metallic structural materials, optimised 3D space utilisation, low energy micro-manufacturing techniques and advanced connectivity to revolutionise the vehicle's productivity. The development's heart is driver well-being and a zero-emissions offering for the logistics and delivery sector.

IVe's engineers have developed a fuel-cell solution to provide IndiGo with an emissions-free, high payload, 600km daily shift capability that currently cannot be achieved with battery-electric solutions. The modular hydrogen drivetrain packaging allows IVe customers to be agnostic to fuel cell or hydrogen storage hardware suppliers, enabling fleet operations the flexibility to upgrade or change sub-assemblies without compatibility issues common to OEM-only solutions. Providing operators with fuel infrastructure and supply is integrated by IVe into its proprietary van-as-a-service offer. With lower operating costs, the total cost of ownership is further reduced by IndiGo's projected 15-year lifecycle, lasting 128% longer than the average diesel van. The company is also developing a retrofit solution for larger operators with significant residual value in existing diesel fleets.

IVe's challenge to the OEM model and its compelling financial proposition is only one part of the revolution to tackle the frustrations and cost drivers of fleet management. The IndiGo itself makes several significant breaks with tradition, utilising hemp in the construction of body panels that dispense with the need for traditional paint processes. At the same time, non-metallic chassis fabrication does not require high energy manufacturing processes such as welding. The vehicle platform at the front has been laid out to optimise driver safety and manoeuvrability with a wheel-forward design. In contrast, payload has been enhanced with a low, flat floor with an optional driver rest pod scope. A central driving position enhances all-around visibility and minimises costs for operators working in both left and right-hand drive markets. Typical fleet management costs arising from damaged wing mirrors have been circumvented with all-around driving cameras with HUD displays in the A pillars. In contrast, van theft has been tackled with all-round keyless entry, removing the potential for lock-breaking.

IndiGo has been backed by Innovate UK and is scheduled for pre-series trial orders in September 2023, with production orders arriving in early 2024.

Jack Bartlett, Head of Commercial & Partnerships at MIRA Technology Park said, "We are delighted that IVe has chosen MTP as its home to revolutionise a critical segment in the automotive market and realise the 'van of the future' here. We hope the cluster of capability here aids the realisation of the company's radical and innovative engineering ambitions."


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