Automotive PR:

  • The development and application to buses of Gyrodrive technology by GKN Hybrid Power is honoured with the Dewar Trophy
  • The design, development and production of the battery powering Formula E racing cars by Williams Advanced Engineering is awarded the Simms Medal
  • Prestigious awards honour the most outstanding technical achievement and innovation in the British automotive industry
  • Award winners announced today at a VIP lunch at the Royal Automobile Club’s Pall Mall Clubhouse
  • The ceremony forms part of London Motor Week, which encompasses The Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and the Regent Street Motor Show

Pall Mall, London, Wednesday 28 October 2015 – The Royal Automobile Club is proud to announce the recipients of the Dewar Trophy and Simms Medal for 2015 are GKN Hybrid Power and Williams Advanced Engineering.

Arguably the most prestigious honours in recognition of home grown British automotive engineering talent, the Dewar Trophy and Simms Medal are only awarded in years when the Royal Automobile Club’s Dewar Technical Committee deems there have been contenders of sufficient merit.  This is one such year.

The Dewar Trophy was presented to GKN Hybrid Power General Manager, Gordon Day, for his team’s development and application to buses of Gyrodrive – a motor sport-derived technology that delivers fuel and emissions savings in multiple commercial applications including buses, trucks and trains.

The first commercial application has been in buses across several UK cities, delivering greater fuel efficiencies to the tune of around 20 per cent, alongside reduced vehicle emissions.  This same technology offers affordable efficiency gains across a wide range of future applications, with the simple principle that the energy storage flywheel, which sits at the heart of the technology, is able to convert energy traditionally lost as heat into recyclable rotational kinetic energy.

Awarding the 2015 trophy to GKN Hybrid Power was a unanimous decision for experts on the Royal Automobile Club’s Dewar Technical Committee, chaired by John Wood MBE.  Previous winners of the Dewar Trophy, which has a lineage dating back to 1906, include Rolls-Royce in 1907 for its 40.5hp engine; the British Motor Corporation and Alec Issigonis for the original Mini in 1959; McLaren in 2013 for the P1 hybrid supercar, and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains for the 2014 PU106A Hybrid Formula 1 power unit.

John Wood MBE, Chairman of the Dewar Technical Committee, said: “GKN’s investment in affordable hybrid technology paves the way for the development of fuel saving vehicles in many new markets around the world.  The Dewar Trophy, presented to GKN in recognition of this outstanding technical achievement, is a testament to the engineers who envisaged how a motor sport technology could have real advantages in the commercial world.”

Receiving the Dewar Trophy, Gordon Day, General Manager, GKN Hybrid Power, said: “It is a great honour to be recognised with such a prestigious award.  Our work to drive forward development of our electric flywheel energy storage technology – from motor sport to mainstream transportation – is something of which we are particularly proud.  The team at GKN Hybrid Power is committed to continued evolution of our core technology, and to meeting the challenges of delivering this innovative solution for reducing emissions and increasing fuel efficiency across transport industry networks.”

Receiving the Simms Medal on behalf of Williams Advanced Engineering, was Managing Director, Craig Wilson. Williams Advanced Engineering is only the eighth recipient of the Simms Medal, with previous winners including Richard Parry-Jones CBE in 2007 in recognition of his immense contribution to the UK and worldwide automotive industry; Ben Bowlby in 2012 for his ground-breaking DeltaWing racing car, and Lord Paul Drayson in 2013 for incredible and world record breaking achievements with the Drayson B12/69 LMP-type EV racing car.

In the world of motor sport there are few more illustrious names than Williams.  With 114 wins scored by legendary drivers such as Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet and Nigel Mansell, it is among the top three performing Formula 1 teams of all time.  Since its establishment in 1977 by Sir Frank Williams and Sir Patrick Head, Williams has built a reputation for engineering excellence.

By establishing Williams Advanced Engineering in 2010, the Group has gone further in developing new technologies for commercial use with a particular emphasis on improving energy efficiency. To date, Williams technology has been used in a Jaguar hybrid supercar, an electric assist bicycle, and supermarket fridges to name a few.  Designed to meet the specific technical specifications mandated by the FIA, the Simms Medal-winning Formula E battery had to be developed and delivered within a strict 12-month timeframe.  The EV battery had to meet the required specification, fit in to a strictly pre-determined safety cell, cool sufficiently, be 100 per cent consistent from one team to the next (40 race cars plus spares), and last an entire season with no loss of power or performance.

John Wood MBE said: “The Formula E battery is a design, technological and packaging marvel, and its creator, Williams Advanced Engineering, a very worthy recipient of the Simms Medal in recognition of its contribution to motoring innovation.  Each of these batteries has enough energy to charge a smartphone every day for 13 years and holds the equivalent energy of 10,000 AA alkaline batteries. The batteries have powered a full grid of Formula E racing cars a total of some 60,000km in the first season – which is the equivalent of one and a half times around the Earth.  There’s an old saying that racing ‘improves the breed’, and Formula E is helping to improve the next generation of electric vehicles.  This should mean a better quality of air for all of us.”

Williams Advanced Engineering Managing Director, Craig Wilson, added: “We are thrilled and honoured to be the recipients of the Simms Medal for 2015.  Our battery technology has been fundamental to the Formula E series in its inaugural season, and we are proud of how it has stood up to the test in what was a very aggressive development and testing programme.  We are now focused on making season two an even bigger success, and to bringing variants of this technology in to road cars in the near future.”


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