Panel helps to drive King’s Lynn enterprise
A Norfolk panel with a wealth of business experience has given its support to a West Norfolk inventor's enterprise to reduce carbon emissions from cars.
Stuart Wilkie has designed a motor wheel which fits to the chassis on the back of a four-wheel-drive, or the front of a front-wheel-drive, meaning a vehicle could become an electric car at the flick of a switch.
The Norfolk Knowledge Innovation Project (NKIP), which is run by Norwich Business School, chose Mr Wilkie's product to receive a cash award and help from mentors.
Mr Wilkie has been paired with Norfolk Knowledge business mentors Keith Beck, who is a former electronics engineer, and Greg Peck, who has been a director in automotive and manufacturing businesses in the UK, Europe and Asia.
Mr Wilkie was not able to produce a working prototype because of a lack of funding but Norwich-based PPI Engineering Ltd agreed to contribute labour and expertise to produce and test prototypes if Mr Wilkie could fund the cost of components.
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The Norfolk Knowledge project has agreed to fund Mr Wilkie's share of the costs and work on a prototype is now in progress. Mr Wilkie is hoping to set up a fitting plant in Norfolk in the next 12 months. Mentor Greg Peck said: 'Keith (Beck) has been able to help Stuart with his engineering knowledge, whilst I'm now helping him to put his marketing plan together and target the right customers within the auto industry.'
Mr Wilkie said: 'One of my aims is to create British jobs and make everything from the motor to the system in Britain. NKIP has provided me with amazing advice, contacts and support and also acted as a bank – this type of help is something the government is missing and I wasn't able to get a loan from the banks.'
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He added: 'Big names like Vauxhall, Porsche and even F1 McLaren have all shown interest and said what a revelation it is.
'The system will be affordable and I'm hoping that the government will support the innovation and idea of converting existing cars into hybrid cars to bring the costs down even further.
'I'm looking forward to bringing this to market within the next 12 months.'
For information on the NKIP and Norfolk Knowledge, call 01603 591816 or visit www.norfolkknowledge.co.uk