A START-UP company is aiming to create hundreds of jobs by developing a system to extend how far electric vehicles can travel, making them more commercially viable.
North East firm Inova Power Ltd has teamed up with the University of Sunderland to commercialise the breakthrough, which extracts hydrogen from water to power vehicles.
The lack of distance that electric vehicles can currently travel without having to be recharged is considered a major drawback to their widespread uptake but Inova is aiming to overcome the issue.
Managing director Mark Nailis said: “One of the biggest concerns is people won’t buy them. It’s the range. Some electric transit vans have a range of around 50 miles and then need to be recharged but our system will be able to go for a 150-mile round trip range.
“We’re working with a consortium with the University of Sunderland and a range of companies involved with electric vehicles to put into the next generation of cars. We are working to extend the electric vehicle range over the next 12 months ready for the market.”
Although Nissan’s electric car, the Leaf, will be made in Sunderland from 2013, Inova has not signed a deal with the Japanese car giant.
“We are trying to work with a lot of car manufacturers,” said Nailis, a chartered engineer with more than 20 years’ experience in developing and commercialising new products across the automotive and defence sectors. The partnership with the University of Sunderland and a leading electric vehicle integrator aims to develop a prototype vehicle demonstrator.