Skip navigation

Gloucestershire Business News

Engineering icon linked to possible 'secret' electric car project

That an electric car could be being developed in a Gloucestershire 'shed' by one of engineering's most brilliant minds is an intriguing thought.

An innocuous planning application to Stroud District Council to confirm the lawful use to an outbuilding at a former farm in the village of North Nibley gives the first clue.

While it is to confirm its ongoing use as a B1 facility within planning rules, the application states the building is "used as an office (use class B1) and for research in connection with the development of an electric car".

A letter from Cheltenham-based Ridge property and construction consultants seeks "a lawful development certificate made under Section 191 (1) (b) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990" and "confirmation that an existing building, hereafter known as Building A, Swinhay Farm, North Nibley, is lawful".

When you realise the application is in the name of one Sir David McMurtry, one of the founding father of engineering giant Renishaw - and merely a stones-throw from the company and his iconic Swinhay House the mind starts to race.

It is no secret that the Wotton-under-Edge firm, which employs more than 2,000 staff in Gloucestershire and 5,000 world-wide, is already focused on the electric car market, among many.

An article in the Irish Independent in 2018 outlined how Renishaw was targeting its research and development efforts at the electric car market, acknowledging the move away from petrol and diesel cars by the major manufacturers.

Chief executive officer of Renishaw, Will Lee, told the news website: "We're looking at the opportunities it may give us - particularly related to electric motors - and refocusing our sales and R&D accordingly."

It is thought the firm's 3D printers would become an integral tool in the emerging market.

Mr Lee's appointment as chief executive officer allowed Sir David to adopt a new title - executive chairman overseeing innovation and product strategy.

It is reported the firm now employs six patent lawyers and some of the firm's most recent patents bear Sir David's name.

The Dublin born engineer, inventor, entrepreneur and multi-millionaire, 78 at the time of the interview with the Sunday Independent, said of his new role: "My wife jokes that I'm perhaps working harder now, spending time on R&D, than I did as CEO."

Whether he is burning the midnight oil in a certain Gloucestershire 'shed' at Swinhay Farm developing his own electric vehicle is a moot point.

But if we didn't dream a little, where would we be.

Related Articles

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, August 7 Image

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, August 7

The latest important news and updates from across Gloucestershire as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Jigsaw could be next missing piece on Cheltenham Promenade Image

Jigsaw could be next missing piece on Cheltenham Promenade

Cheltenham's beleaguered Promenade could be facing another blow with fashion retailer Jigsaw close to launching a CVA.

City traders frustrated by surprise street market  Image

City traders frustrated by surprise street market

Food from around the world has taken over the Gate Streets in Gloucester - much to the surprise of some of its usual inhabitants who say they are losing out to the visiting competition.

On-street parking charge increase planned for September Image

On-street parking charge increase planned for September

The council has now revealed that the three per cent increase will take place from next month.

Copyright 2020 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.