A £4.48m research and development centre for the production of green transport has opened its doors ahead of schedule.
Gateshead College has announced that early uptake from prospective tenants in the Future Technology Centre has led to 80% capacity, driving the need to officially open for business a month early.
Based in the heart of the automotive industry in Washington, the centre is owned and managed by Gateshead College and becomes the first of its kind in Europe, providing companies working in the automotive and low carbon sectors to develop and commercialise innovative technologies.
The centre provides a unique combination of offices, research and development space, manufacturing facilities, training and classroom space as well as proximity to a dedicated low carbon vehicle performance test track, supported by a complete range of charging infrastructure.
Tenants ready to move in include Smith Electric Vehicles, Hyperdrive Innovation, charge point installation experts ELM EV, technology company Zero Carbon Futures and Tadea’s Effective Transport Solutions.
The facility has received £2.36m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, with £2.12m investment from the college, an investment the college chief executive said is testament to its commitment to the sector.
Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive of Gateshead College, said: “The Future Technology Centre is crucial to the successful development and implementation of low carbon vehicle technologies, and is central to the North East becoming the UK’s technology hub in this emerging sector.
“This financial commitment is indicative of the College’s investment in the future of its students, working to secure sustainable employment for people in the region while also attracting leading expertise to the area.
“As well as boosting the region’s economy through nurturing business and securing long-term employment growth, the Future Technology Centre is an invaluable resource for companies developing low carbon vehicle technologies, which will play a pivotal role in evolving the UK’s capability and becoming a European leader.
“The North East has been an ambassador for the adoption of low carbon vehicle technology and the Future Technology Centre can work to accelerate the UK’s ongoing integration of these technologies.”