Low-carbon vehicle innovator Sevcon is recruiting an additional 20 skilled staff after receiving a £400,000 grant from The Journal’s Let’s Grow Fund.
The grant will help the Gateshead-based firm to develop a new range of controllers for electric and hybrid vehicles.
Its low voltage Gen 5 controller will provide an improved performance on the company’s previous products, exceeding emerging environmental and regulatory benchmarks in smaller dimensions than its predecessor.
Sevcon president and chief executive officer Matt Boyle says it is currently in the process of recruiting an additional 13 staff to support this project, and expects to add a further seven as it builds momentum.
He said: “This award comes at a time of rapid growth for the business and will help us cement our position as a world-leader in the motor control market.
“The world-wide drive for electrification gives us the confidence to invest in developing new products and this award is testament to the strength of the business proposition we currently offer.”
The grant has come from the Let’s Grow Fund, a £60m pot of money from the Regional Growth Fund administered by The Journal in association by North East business advisory groups BE Group and UNW.
The fund has already created or safeguarded more than 5,000 jobs and has levereaged in £270m in private investment to the North East.
UNW partner Neville Bearpark said: “Sevcon is a prime example of the sort of project which Let’s grow will support.
“They are continually innovating to stay at the top of their game in a global marketplace and, in doing so, are creating quality jobs in the North-East.”
Sevcon is on a growth spurt after winning some major new contracts and this progress was reflected in its 2014 results with sales up 18% to $37.9m (£24.2m) from $32.2m (£20.5m) in 2013.
It also returned to the black, positing profits of $1m (£640,000), compared with an operating loss of $948,000 (£605,000) in the previous year
Sevcon’s global product manager Stephen Chilton said: “The Gen5 product will offer unparalleled ease-of-use, allied with the ability to customise the functionality and operation to allow users with small product volumes to have access to advanced ‘off-the-shelf’ electrification solutions.
“The support offered by the Regional Growth Fund allows Sevcon to invest in employing the world’s best engineers who will be needed to deliver these innovative products into environment saving applications in the coming years.”
Sevcon has sold over 111,000 of its Gen 4 controller, which was launched in 2010 and is the undisputed market leader featuring in many of the best selling electric vehicles.