Young engineers of the future will be showing off their talents at a new motor expo in Cheltenham, which aims to spark imaginations and showcase the latest thinking and technology in the automotive and motorsports sectors.

Cheltenham Motorsports

Leading educational and industry figures in the race to develop sustainable transport will be in the Regency town on 8th and 9th September for the Qualcomm Halo Sustainable Moto Expo 2012. The Rt Hon Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, has backed the expo and will be a keynote speaker at The Chamber, Municipal Offices, along with Iain Gray, Chief Executive Officer of the Technology Strategy Board. This government agency provides funding support to encourage UK industry to work with British Universities on collaborative innovation projects to drive business growth.

The Greenpower Trust, which promotes educational engineering projects in 500 schools across the UK, is one of the event’s key education partners in the Education Zone. The Trust will present low-carbon race cars that have been designed by teams from local schools such as Chosen Hill and St Edward’s, as well as by corporate teams through the Trust’s Corporate Challenge programme, aimed at engineering apprenticeship students. A team from Oxford Brookes University will show how design ideas become efficient engineering solutions, while members of the Energy and Power Group at the University of Oxford will showcase their super-sleek electric vehicle PEGGIE.

Cheltenham’s Inner Promenade will be turned into a futuristic car showroom as a range of low-carbon vehicles built by teams from Renishaw, Jaguar Land Rover and Infineon give the public a taste of things to come.

The expo comes at a time of economic uncertainty and skills shortages within the UK’s engineering sector. A report1 published in September 2011 by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers called for the industry to attract more young people – and more females. The report stated that innovation has always been the path to creating value while acknowledging that skill shortages can affect businesses’ ability to innovate and grow.

The new event is a taster for a regulated low-carbon street race planned for next year in Cheltenham. This will be the forerunner of the groundbreaking full-performance low-carbon Cheltenham Street Race, planned for 2015 when legislation will provide for street racing. That event will see the streets of the Regency town transformed into a race circuit as low-carbon emission cars compete to push the boundaries of speed and green technology.

1Meeting the challenge: Demand and Supply of Engineers in the UK, September 2011