Matt BoyleFAST-GROWING electric drivetrain company Sevcon is expanding its UK presence with the opening of a new base in Britain’s ‘Motorsport Valley’ as it looks to create over 40 new engineering jobs in the next 18 months.

The Tyneside company, which earlier this year bought Italian charging company Bassi for £10m, has established an office at Milton Park, Abingdon, near Oxford.

The area is a renowned hotbed for UK motorsport and performance car companies, being home to Formula One heavyweights Renault-Lotus, Williams, Haas and Manor F1.

Sevcon, which is at the forefront of the transition from internal-combustion engines to hybrid and electric vehicles, is currently on a major growth spurt and sees the move as key in supporting its global ambitions.

It has so far recruited four engineers to its Milton Park base and is looking to make further additions from an area which has a wealth of highly-skilled automotive and software engineers.

The company says it expects to see the new base grow quickly to 20 staff by the end of next year – as well as continuing to boost the size of its North East engineering team by a similar number.

Sevcon president and chief executive officer Matt Boyle said “The North East is well-known as a national centre for the automotive industry and by establishing a base in another of the UK’s leading automotive locations we can help accelerate the growth of Sevcon and support the global transition to low-carbon vehicles.

“Being in the Oxford area will help us to strengthen our existing relationships – and develop exciting new partnerships – with some of the major players in the area’s excellent automotive supply chain.

“As we continue to grow globally it is vital to tap into a market with a highly skilled and adept workforce that will help support our global growth ambitions.”

Sevcon has a 50-year pedigree in electric and hybrid vehicle drive train development and has worked with many of the globe’s leading motor manufacturers.

These include Toyota, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai and Renault and it is currently working with one of the UK’s leading high-performance car manufacturers.

From its Gateshead base it designs and manufactures advanced controls which are used to vary the speed and movement of vehicles, to integrate specialised functions and to optimise energy consumption.

As the global electrification gathers momentum OEMs are increasingly looking for integrated drive trains and Sevcon is leading the way in developing bundled packages which currently feature controllers, inverters and wireless chargers.

Sevcon’s Abingdon office will be headed by Sally Asquith who has extensive experience in the sector having previously worked for Oxfordshire-based Williams, GKN Hybrid Power.

She said: “The Oxford area has a comprehensive supply chain of world-class design, precision and high performance automotive engineering companies and as such it is an ideal location for technology-driven company such as Sevcon to establish a new base.

“The area is recognised for its automotive engineering talent and by establishing a base  here Sevcon is making a real statement of intent.

“Sevcon has a clear vision for the future; one that plans for the rapid development of the electric vehicle market, and this move will help us lead in the technological advances needed to support this global shift.”

Sevcon has previous experience in the area having previously partnered with Oxford-based Yasa Motors in the development of a new integrated electric motor and controller.

Ms Asquith says the company is already in talks with some of the region’s leading players with Sevcon looking to make rapid progress in the area.