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TRANSPORT INNOVATIONS KEEP ON TRUCKIN’
Imagine bringing up a three-dimensional picture of a normal, everyday truck on your computer – and then stretching it to its limits.
Kevin McDonnell, engineering manager with J Smith & Sons said that the company’s engineers used a set of formulas, and several software packages, to optimise – or stretch – each design.
“We’ve created a niche market for ourselves – designing mining trucks and trailers which are only rated for the private roads on mining sites,” Kevin said.
“The vehicles can be wider, larger and higher to suit the mine site’s specifications.”
J Smith & Sons produces vehicles such as specialist trailers for the coal, sugar cane and loose rock industries. The company relies on the Australian Government’s R&D Tax Concession to help drive its research program.
With its team of six engineers, J Smith & Sons put 6000 engineering hours into developing one of its signature products – a “flatpack” car carrier. The car carrier flattens down to 1.5 metres high.
“We’ve invented a system so that the operator only needs to drive cars onto the bottom layer,” Kevin said.
“Then if a car is going to be transported on the top layer of the car carrier, the operator stands on the ground with a remote, and hydraulics lift the car and its deck to the second level.”
Kevin said the problem with the previously-designed car carriers was occupational health and safety issues.
“The flatpack has been designed to provide a much safer operating environment and to reduce damage to cars during loading and unloading.”
GREEN CAR INNOVATION FUND
The Green Car Innovation Fund (GCIF) program is a key element of A New Car Plan for a Greener Future announced by the Australian Government in November 2008. The GCIF opened publicly for applications on 24 April 2009. The GCIF is a competitive grants program and as at 30 June 2010 would provide $1.1 billion over ten years to Australian companies.
The policy objective of the GCIF program is to enhance research and development and the commercialisation of Australian technologies that significantly reduce fuel consumption and/or greenhouse gas emissions of passenger motor vehicles.
In May 2010, the Australian Government reduced total GCIF funding by $200 million – from $1.3 billion to $1.1 billion. This decision resulted in a reduction of $50 million in 2011-12, $75 million in 2012-13 and $75 million in 2013-14.
Table 2.3 Australian Government budget and expenditure at 30 June 2010
The GCIF has achieved high levels of awareness within the automotive sector. Nonetheless, the first full year of the GCIF’s operation during 2009-10 coincided with the latter part of the global financial crisis. The crisis had a significant adverse impact on the Australian automotive industry which, in turn, appeared to be a factor in the lower-than-anticipated initial rate of applications submitted under the GCIF. The number of inquiries and applications began to increase as the financial year progressed.
In 2009-10, the program received 11 applications seeking grants for a diverse range of projects. The Green Car Innovation Committee met five times and held three teleconferences. There were 11 project applications considered by the Committee, two of which were reconsiderations. Three applications were supported with a further project offered a grant which was subsequently declined.
On 24 July 2009, the Minister announced a $42 million grant to Ford Australia for the engineering and fitment of the EcoBoost, a fuel efficient turbo-charged, four cylinder motor, to the Falcon as part of Ford’s $230 million Sustainability Initiative. On 11 March 2010, the Minister announced a grant to Orbital Australia of $440,413 to develop direct-injection technology in a joint project with Chinese automaker Changan. Orbital will test its Flex DI technology in a Changan concept engine and vehicles to meet Chinese 2012 14 and Euro IV emissions and performance targets. A grant agreement was executed with SMR Automotive Australia Pty Ltd for $2,422,190 to develop a lightweight automotive rear-view mirror for the global automotive market. Century Yuasa was awarded a grant of $996,327 to design a more efficient automotive battery. All projects supported will contribute to meeting the program objective of cutting fuel use and reducing carbon emissions.
Table 2.4 GCIF applications considered during 2009-10
The GCIF program has been open publicly for applications for 14 months. Most projects funded under the program so far are yet to reach completion. As a result, it is too early in the implementation of most projects to cite final outcomes. Nonetheless, in February 2010, and assisted by a grant of $35 million from the GCIF, Toyota launched the Australian-made hybrid Camry on the local market. The car consumes 6.0 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres and emits 142 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre – equivalent to a much smaller class of vehicle. (Source: Green Vehicle Guide)
SUPPORT PROVIDED TO CUSTOMERS
The GCIF program provides funding to Australian companies and is accessible via two streams:
Grants are provided at a ratio of one dollar of government funding for every three dollars of eligible expenditure contributed by the grantee (25 per cent), unless agreed otherwise by the Program Delegate on an exceptions basis. The GCIF supports research and development, proof-of-concept, early-stage commercialisation and pre production development activities that are carried out in Australia. GCIF projects are funded to a maximum of three years duration with the provision to extend for a further 12 months, subject to Program Delegate approval.
The Minister issued the GCIF Guidelines on 24 April 2009. The policies and procedures of the GCIF are set out in the Guidelines and GCIF Directions, which were also issued on 24 April 2009 in accordance with subsections 18A, 19 and 20(1) of the Industry Research and Development Act 1986.
Innovation Australia, through its Green Car Innovation Committee, considers eligible applications for both Stream A and B of the GCIF, and provides technical assessments and merit ranking of eligible applications. The role of the Green Car Innovation Committee is outlined in Section 3 - Corporate Governance.
Applications for $5 million and above are subject to assessment by the Board.
Stream A applications for grants of $5 million or more that are recommended for support and are to receive financial assistance of greater than 25 per cent of eligible expenditure, will be referred to the Minister for consideration. Applications for grants of $10 million or more that are recommended for funding will be referred to the Cabinet of the Australian Government for consideration.
Green Car Innovation Fund
GRANT HELPS ORBITAL REV UP LOW-EMISSION ENGINE PROJECT
A Green Car Innovation Fund grant of $440,413 allowed Perth design and manufacturing firm Orbital Australia to tap into China’s massive car market with its low-emission engine technology.
The grant meant Orbital could focus on the passenger-car market and develop an engine to comply with new stringent Chinese fuel consumption laws for new vehicles.
The new legislation comes into effect in China in 2012.
Orbital is working with Chinese car manufacturer Changan Automobile to develop a four-cylinder automotive petrol engine. Changan is China’s fourth largest automaker and aims to sell about 2.2 million cars in 2010.
Australians bought about one million new vehicles in 2009. The Chinese are buying about 1.2 million vehicles every month.
Orbital has developed low-emission engines, fuelled by small drops of vaporised fuel. The engines use Orbital’s patented air-assisted direct injection technology.
The key to Orbital’s engine system is that fuel is injected directly into the cylinder, only putting in as much fuel as needed.
Unlike other direct injection systems, which rely on a high pressure pump, the Orbital system delivers the fuel in smaller drops using a small quantity of compressed air - much like an aerosol.
The Green Car Innovation Fund offers grants from $100,000 for projects that significantly reduce the fuel consumption and/or greenhouse gas emissions of passenger motor vehicles.
INNOVATION INVESTMENT FUND PROGRAM
The Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) program was established in 1997 to promote the development of an Australian venture capital market for early-stage, technology-based companies that are commercialising research and development (R&D).
The Australian Government, in partnership with the private sector, established venture capital funds (IIF funds) to invest in promising early-stage, technology-based companies commercialising research. By demonstrating the returns achievable from investing in such companies, the IIF program aims to encourage the private sector to take a more active role supporting Australian companies to commercialise research.
There have been three rounds of the IIF program. Five funds were established in 1998 under Round 1, four funds in 2001 under Round 2 and as at 30 June 2010 four funds have been established under Round 3.
The Australian Government has committed $220.7 million for Rounds 1 and 2 of the program. Private sector funding brings the total funding for the two Rounds to $354.0 million. The Australian Government has committed $200 million for Round 3 of the IIF program.
Under IIF Round 3, up to 10 funds will be established with each fund comprising $20 million of government capital matched on at least a 1:1 basis with private sector capital. It is planned to establish an additional six funds under Round 3 over the next two to three years. Funds are licensed for a period of 10 years with an additional three years for the orderly divestments of companies.
IIF funds are managed by private sector fund managers awarded licences through a competitive selection processes based on merit criteria including expertise and capacity to manage venture capital investments and ability to raise private sector capital. The selection process is conducted by the Venture Capital Committee (VCC), an independent expert panel established under Innovation Australia.
Fund managers are responsible for all investment decisions which are made on a commercial basis in accordance with the Fund’s investment practices, subject to the IIF Ministerial Guidelines.
The objectives of Round 3 of the IIF program are:
Note: The program objectives for Round 3 differ from the previous two rounds in that the reference to technology-based companies present in the Rounds 1 and 2 Guidelines has been removed.
Table 2.5 IIF Australian Government budget and expenditure at 30 June 2010
a Includes Revolving Fund proceeds of $32.87 million.
b The ‘Payments made’ figure includes management fees and recoverable expenses of $3.04 million.
Автор благодарит Victor A. Hill, руководителя английской фирмы International Management Development, London и L. P. Todd, руководителя...