Search

Norfolk’s expertise makes it the ‘ideal’ location for a research and development centre

08:18 25 May 2012

County Council Chairman Ian Monson toasting the new friendship with Yotta Group Chairman Mr Tong Chen as part of delegation of Chinese businessmen who are looking to invest in research and development facilities at Hethel being hosted by representatives of the Norfolk County Council and local business  pictured at County Hall. Photo: Steve Adams

County Council Chairman Ian Monson toasting the new friendship with Yotta Group Chairman Mr Tong Chen as part of delegation of Chinese businessmen who are looking to invest in research and development facilities at Hethel being hosted by representatives of the Norfolk County Council and local business pictured at County Hall. Photo: Steve Adams

Norfolk’s world-class engineering expertise makes it the “ideal” location for a research and development centre to support a £1bn Chinese car manufacturing project, a Chinese investor said last night.

Chairman of the Yotta Group Tong Chen, who was part of a visiting Chinese delegation behind the project to use engineering developed in the UK to mass produce high-power, low-emission cars for a Far East market, was full of praise for the county’s abilities following a visit to Hethel Engineering Centre and Lotus Group yesterday.

While cars would be manufactured in China, the group plan to open one of two research and development centres in the UK.

Mr Chen said “The technology centre in the UK will be responsible for technology research and development. The ideal location will be the most beautiful Norfolk county.”

Earlier this week the Chinese delegation visited Westminster, McLaren Cars, an engineering company in Northampton and they will visit Loughborough University tomorrow.

Mr Chen said: “Comparatively. London which is a world-class city is crowded and difficult for future experts to live in and difficult for the type of work we are doing. But Norfolk is beautiful, there is local experience here, but it is global. Therefore I think this is ideal. It is definitely the best I have seen so far. There are a number of things that attracted my attention and impressed me with the region. The history, the culture and the experience in technology and the beautiful countryside and agriculture. Although it is supposed to be a large agriculture county, I can see from the Hethel Engineering Centre you have gathered the world leading technology and experience that makes it the ideal location. I feel you have gathered many world leading experts and knowledge resource is readily available. We have confidence that Norfolk has a long history of automotive research and development and this long history will benefit our work.”

Last night and yesterday afternoon the delegation were entertained by Norfolk County Council politicians and earlier in the week Mr Chen met Norfolk County Council leader Derrick Murphy.

Mr Chen said: “More importantly the government is extremely, extremely supportive and there are hard working civil servants who are building up the confidence. I am fortunate the council leader gave us the full support of the region.”

Mr Chen would not be drawn on the timing of the project, but he said that collaboration and investment had already started.

“We will try our best to start as soon as possible, but it is linked to the progress of the project,” he said.

He also stated the importance of having Lotus in Norfolk for the project.

“Lotus is a global leading technology and they are project partners,” he said. Lotus is a important project partner for the future. We have been working together and are looking forward to working more in the future. We met today and had a fairly constructive meeting.”

The plans – which include a Chinese manufacturing facility which could produce 1.2m units each year – have already been endorsed by Beijing officials from the Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Development and Reform Committee following a meeting in Zhanjiang last July. The project is now starting a phase which will deliver a running engines and a demonstrator vehicle which is taking place in the UK.

Hethel Engineering Centre-based business Elitech Power is behind the plan and has been working with the Yotta Group on the project. Technology developed by engineers in the UK will be used to develop the new engines for the Chinese market.

Director David Taitt, a former engineering director at Lotus Cars and his business partner Rui Chen, a professor of low-carbon engineering at Loughborough University, have been working since 2006 to engage interest and support from investors for the project.

5 comments

  • If the NDR is built, financed by the proposed NE Triangle, during a period when house building is in the doldrums, the Southern bypass will go into gridlock. However, I wish Lotus luck for the future.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Saturday, May 26, 2012

  • Once the NDR is built, getting to Hethel will be speedy.

    Report this comment

    Abraham

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • Once the NDR is built, getting to Hethel will be speedy.

    Report this comment

    Abraham

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • More evidence of new jobs miles away from the proposed dense housing in the North East triangle! Where are the announcements about the jobs in the NE growth triangle?

    Report this comment

    SNUB

    Friday, May 25, 2012

  • On reading my China Daily, I see that the Youngman Group have pulled out of buying Saab, which could lead to Lotus being their new target....nice work Oh Dany B(ahar)OY.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Friday, May 25, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other news

The site of Long Strattons 3G artificial grass pitch.

A new artificial grass pitch in Long Stratton, which will address the sporting needs of the community, will be given significant funding from the FA and Premier League.

EDP Stars of Norfolk and Waveney Awards 2015 at St Andrews Hall, Norwich. Special Recognition Award winners  the Norfolk D-Day Veterans. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Whether young, old or somewhere in between, everybody has the opportunity to contribute to our community and help make it a better place to live.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service were at the scene of a fire yesterday causing homes to be left without TV and radio.

Fire crews from Norfolk were called across the border to help extinguish a fire near Diss.

Sammy Pegg with her dog Blaze, together they have been successful in a team agility event at the European Open Junior Agility Championships in Slovakia.

A young dog trainer has returned home to Diss with two trophies after representing Great Britain at a European competition.

Most Read

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service were at the scene of a fire yesterday causing homes to be left without TV and radio.

Fire crews from Norfolk were called across the border to help extinguish a fire near Diss.

Read more
Sammy Pegg with her dog Blaze, together they have been successful in a team agility event at the European Open Junior Agility Championships in Slovakia.

A young dog trainer has returned home to Diss with two trophies after representing Great Britain at a European competition.

Read more
Diss High School
Yesterday, 16:15
Peter Stuart (left) whose body has been found close to his Weybread home, and his wife Sylvia (right) who is missing - police believe she has been murdered.

A man charged with the double murder of a Suffolk couple has been remanded in custody until August 19.

Read more
Peter Stuart
06:20
Norfolk farmer Helen Reeve has won a business bursary from the Prince's Countryside Fund and Land Rover. She is pictured with her herd of Dexter cattle.

A Norfolk farmer’s business has been given a royal helping hand – with the loan of a brand new all-terrain vehicle to help take her pedigree beef venture down the right road.

Read more
Nissan
Thu, 09:22
Brockdish School closes this week after pupil numbers have fallen over the last few years.
 Staff members with the pupils are (left to right) governor Jan Croxson, teacher Nikki Dean, secretary Jill Edwards and teaching assistant Mary Mills.

As the school term ends most youngsters will be looking forward to spending their free days with friends.

Read more
Norfolk County Council

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 25°C

min temp: 17°C

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Diss Mercury e-edition today E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up