Low-carbon vehicle firm Sevcon has unveiled plans to begin manufacturing in Malaysia after a successful Chinese joint venture secured a major order worth £1.4m.
The new contract is also set to increase the headcount at Sevcon’s Team Valley headquarters over the next 12 months.
The £1.4m contract is for its world-leading Gen 4 motor controllers and they will be used in a new electric, on-road vehicle targeted at the Chinese and wider Asian markets.
Earlier this year the Gateshead-based company announced it was partnering a Chinese Tier 1 automotive supplier to form the Sevcon (Hubei) New Energy Technology Company, with Asia leading the way in the electrification of the on-road automotive sector.
Sevcon president and chief executive office Matt Boyle said: “This is a good first step in China and we are very pleased with the progress being made there. We are working with a manufacturer who today supplies motors to a number of on-road vehicle manufacturers.
“It is testament to the management of the JV (joint venture) that this project was secured less than six months after the JV started trading in China.”
The company is in the process of investing in process and testing equipment at a Malaysian manufacturing company contracted to produce the controllers.
The order will lead to the immediate recruitment of up to five new engineers in Gateshead. It currently employs 52 technical staff on the Team Valley.
Sevcon’s low cost manufacturing model means its production is outsourced to factories in China, Mexico and Poland – and now Malaysia - with the company using the Team Valley as its global design and IP hub.
Sevcon expects prototypes of the new controllers to be available in January 2015, and the start of production in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year.