- ABOUT US _ Drive is an Automotive Design Consultancy building long term relationships with design-driven companies worldwide, designing products that enhance their brand's DNA and position in the market place.
The Niche Vehicle Network (NVN) Forum took place at Silverstone University Technical College over looking the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire.
NVN is an independent association of over 800 niche vehicle manufacturers, specialist technology, design and engineering companies. The event was well attended, over 150 people getting the opportunity to see formal presentations by selected companies on their specific business capabilities and current projects they are working on.
Silverstone UTC proved to be an excellent location for this event, with students on hand to explain about the college with a tour to see the facilities and look at projects they are involved with, such as Formula Student, Europe’s most established educational engineering competition. The conference space on the top floor, with the backdrop of students studying, provided an excellent networking opportunity whilst enjoying the excellent food and refreshments.
Niche vehicle manufacturers including Zenos Cars, Ariel, Caterham, BAC and Delta Motorsport have collaborated with suppliers such as Mahle Powertrain, Emerge Engineering and Surface Transforms to develop technologies and systems.
Drive has provided consultancy services to many low volume vehicle manufacturers and during that time has built up an understanding of the challenges that these businesses face in developing and establishing a successful vehicle in the market.
Niche vehicles have always provided opportunities for entrepreneurs to build successful businesses but now more than ever they are providing a solution to specific transportation problems. This is leading to opportunities for OEMs to use niche vehicles to expand their brand into new markets, become leaders by redefining a market or exploiting new technologies.
Low volume vehicles provide unique challenges in the product offering, manufacturing constraints and the commercial demands. Drive have been involved in numerous programmes and have built up experience of the various approaches to the business proposal, from designers wishing to produce their concept, technology led business opportunities and brand experience products. Spectre Cars, Delta Motorsport, Magna Styer, Zenos Cars, Caterham Cars and Lightning Car Company have benefitted from Drive’s expertise at various stages during their projects.
Whilst the funding for niche vehicle projects is provided from varying sources depending on the circumstances, the necessary underlying business case has to be rigorously tested and proved just the same, before investing of valuable time, resources and money. Drive’s in depth experience can help build the background to the project, give crucial investor confidence in the participating parties and provide experience and guidance throughout project timeline.
Through the development and refinement of the design our experienced team maintain the initial design intent whilst answering the engineering and economic challenges posed by these unique projects.
Drive’s understanding of the difficulties facing niche vehicle manufacturers (NVMs) trying to establish a company or product make them ideal partners to be involved in the development of a robust product concept and commercial strategy, whilst helping identify design and manufacturing efficiencies through collaboration with strategic partners.
Not every venture can be the success that everyone is looking for but minimising the risk by being fully aware of the undertaking at the start, with suitable gateways mapped out so that owners and investors can make informed decisions before embarking on the next phase, help to increase the chances of a sustainable business.
Last night saw the opening event of the Royal Automobile Club’s London Motor Week.
The Club has been working with the designers of the future at the Royal College of Art Intelligent Mobility Programme and have teamed up this year with the RAC Foundation to set the students a project entitled: ‘Inclusion and Empathy – Meeting Special Mobility Needs in the Age of Autonomy’, tasking the students with real life mobility issues in a changing automotive world.
The evening showcased the work of the students and the outcomes they have created to tackle these issues.
The invited guests were able to quiz the designers about their work. Tom Purves, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club, was joined by club members, industry experts and leading automotive designers.
With the ‘Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill 2017-19’ currently being debated in Parliament and a Government Policy advisor in attendance, the relevance and importance of the subject matter being discussed is clear.
The Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall is a fantastic building inside and a perfect setting for the event, giving the international students a great insight to the history and traditions of British motoring contrasting with their future creations.
Founded in 1897 with the aim of encouraging the development of motoring in Britain, today the Royal Automobile Club is one of London’s finest private members’ clubs, with its magnificent galleried hall.
For more news on events for London Motor Week
Drive is celebrating 20 years since it was established in September 1997. To mark the event we had a Drive Design Studio at the Goodwood Revival.
The Goodwood Revival is a fantastic event caught in a nostalgic time warp encorporating the best of 1940s, 50s and 60s motor racing meetings.
A chance for visitors to take themselves out of their modern world and watch rare and classic cars racing flat out with no quarter given around the classic Goodwood circuit, as well as simply taking in all the surrounding period attractions.
For Drive it was an opportunity to celebrate our anniversary and acknowledge the support we have had from design and engineering colleagues, clients and suppliers.
Over the weekend we were pleased that everyone visiting Drive’s revival Design Studio, entered in to the spirit of the event, both in their vintage attire and the Designer activities.
Thanks and see you all soon.
‘Peaky Blinder Designers’ photo courtesy of jlphotography.co.uk
The race to produce the first production autonomous supercar is well and truely on, as many doomsayers mourn the passing of true driving – missed gearshifts and terrible lines around corners – Supercar manufacturers and their highly specialised engineers are more excited than ever. Why? ….
…. because they will at last see their cars perform at the maximum. Currently they resign themselves to the fact that the people who buy these ultimate performance vehicles are unable to exploit the full potential of the car.
Far from autonomous cars reducing us all to the lowest common denominator commuter speeds, the real benefit is for ‘B’ road experiences like never before.
With autonomous control, owners will choose their preferred setting, not suspension stiffness but style of driving, clicking the dial to their driver of choice. And it is here that McLaren and Mercedes have stolen a march on their competitors. Mercedes are now able to use the 2016 data of the current world champion Rosberg without giving away any advantage to their current F1 opposition, and McLaren have played a blinder, creating a scenario where they will have 2017 data from two world champions, Button racing in a one off at Monaco, and Alonso covering off the US market at Indy.
Moving to autonomy has relieved the need for a steering wheel, and this reduction in production costs for right and left hand drive, has allowed other manufacturers to contemplate entering the supercar market, and niche to compete on more even terms. With steering wheels, pedals and gear shifts now being additional cost options for those who wish to pretend to be driving, the commercial benefits are clear.
So with autonomous supercars using all the latest sophisticated positioning and sensoring technology, the passenger phrase “Slow down, you don’t know what’s around the corner” will at last be erased from the English language.