School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

  • Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre

    SVEC deals with the current and future challenge facing the whole life of a vehicle and is a unique platform for the entire automotive sector. The Centre investigates the materials, design issues and drivetrain concepts that will allow the development of low mass, low emission, economical vehicles that satisfy functional and safety requirements, whilst being amenable to disassembly and recovery of materials at end-of-life.

    The new SVEC centre at Oxford Brookes University is housed in a multi-million pound building that was completed in 2006.

    Current issues for research concern the disassembly, disposal and the recycling and reuse of materials in the current global vehicle parc. With 60 million vehicles being scrapped to landfill annually and over 950 million vehicles on the roads of the world, future challenges revolve around the very sustainability of the automotive industry, with a focus on legislative drivers, forecasting, education, design and new technologies for future vehicles. Typically, research projects are funded by industry, government and the research councils. Previous large-scale collaborative projects include:

    • Behaviour of bonded joints in aluminium autobody structures
    • Novel composite roof panels and optimised bonded joint geometries
    • Joints in composite structures
    • Emissions and drive cycle analysis
  • Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre (SVEC) at Oxford Brookes University has played a central role in a European project on electric vehicle mobility. Funded by the EU inter-regional POWER programme, Oxfordshire was one of five regions across Europe were ask to develop a business case based on its unique circumstances. The project, which lasted 19-months from March 2010 September 2011, was led by BOM in The Netherlands and included partners from Sweden, Spain and Poland. The SVEC team included Professor Allan Hutchinson, Dr Patricia Winfield, Dr Shaun Savage and Jim Campbell.

    As part of the project, SVEC coordinated research on behalf of BMW on the MINI E Project. With electric vehicles expected to play an important role in the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions many countries are committed to introducing electric vehicles in their region. Due to this, small pilot projects such as the MINI E Project, have been set up to study the needs and wishes of both industries and consumers. The Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Consortium (OEVC) was formed from the core members of the successful MINI E project, with the object to develop a self-sustaining market in electric vehicles (EVs).


    For businesses and the general public, electric vehicles represent an interesting opportunity but without consumer acceptance there will be very on the road. The overall aim of the E-Mobility project was to define common strategy and policy recommendations to accelerate successful market implementation of electric vehicles in the participating regions.

    To achieve this goal, the project had four objectives:

    1. Identification of common key success factors to move beyond pilot projects towards market implementation
    2. Shared development of sustainable regional business cases for market implementation, based on these factors
    3. Regional and international policy and strategy recommendations based on these business cases
    4. Dissemination of these recommendations to policy makers and to technologists from the automotive industry.

    Project outputs

    The objectives were addressed in three electronic brochures (see right-hand column) which contains six short videos that capture the essence of the business cases developed. The videos were produced by Joe Carr and James Templeton of Oxford Brookes Digital Media Group and were premiered at the LCV2011 conference in September.

    These informative outputs and the activities of the OEVC should help to fulfil the commercial challenge of developing a self-sustaining market and making Oxfordshire an exemplar electric region.

    The Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre (SVEC) ran a very successful Whole Life Vehicle Conference on 18 and 19 November 2009, at Turweston Aerodrome, Silverstone, to examine the sustainability of the automotive industry.

    The conference attracted around 100 participants who were treated to 28 high quality presentations from the government, world-leading designers, engineers and automotive experts. Quentin Willson attended the first day of the conference with a film crew to capture the performance characteristics of four electric cars – MINI E, Mitsubishi MiEV, Citroen EVie and smart ED, and at the conference dinner, delegates were entertained by Richard Noble of Bloodhound Super Sonic Car.

    Below are listed the speakers who presented at the conference along with the titles of their presentations.

    Session 1: Society, Energy and Transport

    • Prof Allan Hutchinson, Oxford Brookes University: Welcome
    • Prof Brian Collins, DfT: Society, energy and transport
    • Robin Haycock, OLEV: Social change: Consumers are both the problem and the solution to ultra low carbon transport
    • David Densley, Scottish and Southern Energy: Energy, transport and sustainability

    Session 2: Business and Economics

    • Jason Reakes, BMW: Electro-mobility: meeting the political, social and customer challenges
    • Paul Nieuwenhuis, Cardiff University: Sustainable personal transport – the business case
    • Nick Ford, Frost & Sullivan: Assessment of new business models for EVs

    Session 3: Intelligent Vehicles and Safety

    • Phil Pettitt, Innovits: Intelligent vehicles
    • Simon Brewerton, Infineon: Electronic safety and system design

    Session 4: Future Vehicles

    • David Godber, Design Council: New vehicle architectures
    • Craig Cheetham, General Motors: Extended range electric vehicles
    • Brian Lawrence, SMMT: Pegasus – route to sustainability and a methodology for automotive SMEs
    • Stephane Schwarz, StephaneSchwarzStudio:Design fit for life
    • Phil Barker, Lotus: Vehicle integration
    • Louise Mothersole, QinetiQ: Exploiting defence technology for a low carbon world

    Session 5: Consumer/ Driver Perception

    • Sam Livingstone, Car Design Research: Putting the sex into electric cars
    • John Batterbee, Energy Technologies Institute: Enabling Market Growth and Infrastructure deployment for plug-in vehicles
    • Marie-Barbe Girard, Transport for London: London EV experience
    • David Gorvett, ph impetus: Supply chain implications of electro-mobility

    Session 6: Energy

    • Rosie Albinson, BP: Efficiency and technology on the path to low carbon transport
    • Christopher Maltin, Organic Power: Fuel from wastes
    • Stephen Samuel, Oxford Brookes University: Low emission vehicles and low emission zones
    • Simon Brewerton, Infineon: Engine management
    • Ray Heath, R2 Powertrain: Powertrain and transmission management

    Session 7: Electrical Systems and Batteries

    • Colin Smith, Modec: Electric vehicle overview
    • Greg Simmons, Elektromotive: Connectors, cables and clarity
    • James Miners, HPL, Switzerland: Battery technologies: improving vehicle life cycle impact

    Session 8: Environmental Impact

    • Neil Grange, Indri's Call Consulting: Life cycle analysis
    • James Meredith, University of Warwick: Lean, mean and green - the WorldFirst Formula 3 car
    • Prof Allan Hutchinson, Oxford Brookes University: Conference summary

    SVEC deals with the current and future challenge facing the whole life of a vehicle and is a unique platform for the whole of the automotive sector.

    SVEC investigates the materials, design issues and drivetrain concepts that will allow the development of low mass, low emission, economical vehicles that satisfy functional and safety requirements, whilst being amenable to disassembly and recovery of materials at end-of-life.

    The Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre provides specialist consultancy and testing across a wide range of fields including:

    • Joining Technologies
    • EV introduction and E-mobility
    • Sustainable Transport
    • Lifecycle Analysis

    SVEC provides market driven reports, consultancy, industry-led research, testing, knowledge transfer and education.

    The Sustainable Vehicle Engineering Centre aims to provide all interested parties with seminars, reports, consultancy and testing on 4 overarching topics:

    • Strategy: Characterising the future landscape of the automotive industry;

    • Technology: The future technologies that will enable the production of more sustainable vehicles;

    • Legislation: The present and future legislation which will impact the automotive industry both locally and globally

    • Products: What the products will be that meet the needs of emerging markets.