Sunday 2 October 2016

Geely provides backing for Bloodhound

Geely Automotive, through Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, is to be the prime automotive sponsor (and will provide technical assistance) to the British Bloodhound world land speed record attempt in 2017.

Geely’s links with Britain go back at least 10 years to 2006 when the board of Antonov plc, the transmissions technology company, announced that it had signed heads of agreement for a production license with Zhejiang Geely Automobile Gearbox Co; the transmission manufacturing subsidiary of Geely Automotive, one of China's leading vehicle manufacturers.
It was intended the license would be for the production of the Antonov's TX6 six-speed automatic transmission.
In 2010, four years after Geely's foray with Antonov – a deal that came to nothing –Geely acquired Volvo Cars from Ford Motor Company in a move to pump some new life into the Swedish carmaker. For Ford, it virtually marked the end of its ill-fated European foray to create the Premier Automotive Group.
Then in February 2013 Geely moved again into Britain when it acquired the London Taxi Company from Manganese Bronze. It followed this with the decision in 2015 to invest £250 million to build a new state-of the-art research, development and assembly facility for the London Taxi Company as the group prepared for the introduction of the next generation electric and ultra-low emission London Black Cab.
Now, Geely is pumping some more money into another British project, as it moves to rescue the Bloodhound land speed record project. In this deal, Geely has signed a three-year deal as the prime sponsor.
Geely says it will offer technical and financial support for the attempt on the world land speed record which will be made in 2017 in South Africa.
The world land speed record is held by RAF Wing Commander Andy Green driving Thrust SSC, a U.K. Team led by Bloodhound's project director Richard Noble. Green will pilot the new vehicle.
The Bloodhound project team claims "It means plans for challenging the World Land Speed Record are now back on track."
The Bloodhound team aim to raise the current land speed record (763 mile/h/1,228km/h) to 800mile/h (1290km/h) in October 2017.
The intention then is to make some alterations to the vehicle and raise the mark still further some 12 months later. The ultimate target has been to achieve above 1,000 mile/h (1,610km/h).
Although continuing to post notices to its supporters, the Bloodhound project effectively had been in hibernation before the Chinese auto group’s intervention. The supersonic car had been constructed but there was not enough cash to test the vehicle on its specially- prepared track in Northern Cape, South Africa.
According to the team, for the last few weeks the Bloodhound Project has been “progressing fast” as new sponsorship has “enabled us to move to the next stage of the programme.” Key among these developments has been splitting the car up into its sub-assemblies, after it was 90 per cent assembled and put on show in London.
As Andy Green described in his July 2016 diary, this dry build last year was “very useful” for checking everything fitted together and “now we can make any modifications and get the few final parts manufactured.”
Each section of the car is being “carefully and methodically disassembled”, and then each part is being catalogued and put back into stores ready for the final build and testing programme to begin in 2017.
The team has always declared that Bloodhound SSC is a unique, high-technology project to design and build a car that will break the 1,000 mile/h barrier and set a new world land speed record.

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