University of Glasgow student wins prestigious car award

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A SCOTTISH student has been named winner of a prestigious innovation award after she invented a prototype for paint that allows electric cars to collect their own solar energy.

Morven Fraser, 21, from Glasgow, has been named winner of Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award for her innovative energy-capturing and storing body panel concept.

21-year-old Morven Fraser

21-year-old Morven Fraser

Her proposal combines photovoltaic paint, on the body of electic or hybrid vehicles (EVs) allowing the cars to collect solar energy, which could then be stored and used to power the vehicle.

It could potentially extend the range capability of EVs, and reduce the need for reliance on heavy lithium batteries.

The award was conceived as a launch pad into the competitive automotive industry for aspiring innovators, which has helped many graduates kick-start their careers in sectors as diverse as paint and trim, PR and engineering.

Announced as the 2015 winner of the award at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ annual dinner on 24 November, Morven will now embark on a six-month work experience tour of award sponsors Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Peugeot, Skoda, Toyota and Honda, as well as winning a cash prize of £9000.

Morven, from Glasgow, said: “Taking part in this Award has been an absolutely amazing experience from start to finish; I’ve loved every minute of it and am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved in it. I’ve learnt so much about myself from the entire process, especially the judging stages. I’m hugely excited by the prospect of what each of the fantastic placements I’ll be heading on hold in store for me over the coming months, I fully intend the seize each of the opportunities they all present. I’m hugely proud to have been named the second female recipient of this Award, I hope others will follow in my footsteps and use it to propel themselves into the automotive industry.”

Morven, who is currently studying for a BEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Glasgow, was one of three finalists who made it to the SMMT dinner.

The other two were fellow students Edward Chamberlain and Michael Everymann, whose entries comprised a tactile feedback accelerator pedal, which guides drivers’ acceleration toward speed limit compliance, and a self-replenishing windscreen water system.

Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley, also the chairman of the judging panel, said: “Year on year, the calibre of the entries we receive for this competition raises the bar higher.

“Our judging process has been hugely engaging again and it has reaffirmed that you can simply never judge a book by its cover. Often when you see finalists’ submissions for the first time, it’s easy to think you have the measure of the entrant, but when they then breathe life into their ideas, you often find yourself thinking again.

“This award was set up to find, nurture and encourage bright new talent for the automotive industry and we’re really proud of the way it continues to go from strength to strength. This year we opened it up to all UK residents aged 17-25 and we’ve received more entries than ever. So many of those entries were of such high quality that it’s been incredibly difficult to choose six finalists, let alone a single winner.”

Courland International chief operating officer Adam Pumfrey said: “Although we operate predominantly at board level for the automotive industry, we’ve been aware for some time that the automotive industry is not always the first choice of many younger candidates. Courland supports this award as it looks to reverse that trend by uncovering the fresh young talent the industry needs and highlights the huge range of career paths open to those keen to get into the automotive business.”