Tue, 21 Apr 2020
THATCHAM-based company Xtrac has received the Queen's Award for Enterprise.
Xtrac, a vehicle transmission specialist, won the award in the category for Innovation for its development of an Integrated Lightweight Electric Vehicle (ILEV) gearbox range spearheaded by Xtrac chief executive Adrian Moore (pictured main).
The company, based in Gables Way, is a world-leader in the design and manufacture of transmission systems and driveline components for top-level professional motorsport and high-performance automotive applications.
Mr Moore said: "Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected us like all other businesses in our industry, in the UK and around the world.
"With international motor racing now at a standstill, it has been necessary to furlough some of our employees, and every single one of us has volunteered to take a pay cut to get us through these uncertain times.
"So, to receive such prestigious recognition for the highly-skilled accomplishments of our people is a very welcome boost to morale for all of us.
"And, it's particularly good news, of course, for our fast-growing High-Performance Automotive business unit, headed by James Setter, which led the implementation of the winning Integrated Lightweight Electric Vehicle transmission project."
While global motorsport takes a temporary pause, Xtrac said it would defer its celebrations and has joined the UK motorsport industry's efforts to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, by repurposing parts of its factory and staff to rapidly manufacture medical ventilator components for the Ventilator Challenge UK initiative.
Xtrac previously received a Queen's Award for Export and Excellence in 1992, less than a decade after it was founded.
In 2017 the company was subject to a buyout by UK-based Inflexion Private Equity.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May opened a new 117,000 sq ft facility at the company's Thatcham base in November 2018.
Part of the UK's high-performance engineering sector, Xtrac will attend a royal reception later in the year.
The Queen personally approves the winners announced by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The Lord-Lieutenant of the Royal County of Berkshire, James Puxley, will present the award, which will also be later in the year, at the company's newly-expanded design and manufacturing headquarters in Thatcham.
Xtrac has focused its research and development effort into its energy-efficient hybrid and electric vehicle transmission systems.
Mr Setter said: "Xtrac was one of the early leaders in the inception of low carbon vehicle technologies. We first presented our ideas to policymakers at the Palace of Westminster in 2008 in response to the increasing interest in electric vehicles."
Initially, Xtrac worked with a consortium of automotive companies supported by Innovate UK to help develop new, highly-efficient, propulsion and driveline systems.
"We then realised that we could lead the market using lightweight materials and patenting ground-breaking gearbox designs that could be used by carmakers globally," Mr Setter said.
Mr Setter represents the Motorsport Industry Association on the UK’s influential Automotive Council Technology Group, which is coordinating the development of new energy-saving and CO2 reducing technologies.
As well as supplying motorsport teams, Xtrac also provides clients with new technologies and a skill base that can adapt quickly to shifts in market conditions and regulatory changes, including requirements for environmentally-friendly road cars.
The Queen's Award for Enterprise celebrates the success of innovative businesses leading the way with pioneering products or services, delivering effective social mobility programmes or showing their commitment to excellent sustainable development practices.