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Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award 2016 winner announced

Joshua de Wit, a student at the University of Sussex, has been named the winner of the prestigious Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award for 2016.  

The second-year Mechanical Engineering student scooped the award thanks to his original idea focusing on stacked graphene batteries, a design with the objective of improving sustainability in Electric Vehicles.


Considered a platform for kick-starting careers in the automotive industry, the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award is a sure way to get noticed across a variety of motoring industries, ranging from technology, design, engineering and PR.

Joshua’s design concept harnesses the conductivity, lightness and strength of graphene, enabling the total redesign of the typical EV battery. Joshua’s stacked graphene battery design would enable charging times at a fraction of the fastest-charging products on the market today, while the flexibility of the material means far less can be used for the optimal balance of cost, strength, weight, storage capacity and size.

The announcement of the 2016 winner was made at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) annual dinner on Tuesday night (29 November). Joshua will now embark on a six-month work experience tour of award sponsors Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Nissan, Peugeot and Toyota.

Joshua, 21, from Oxfordshire, said: “It is a privilege to be presented with the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award. From the outset, this has been a challenging but rewarding experience and the mentoring programme has really helped me to develop my idea and push myself further.
“I’m now excited at the prospect of working with some of the world’s most renowned vehicle manufacturers, experience which I’ve no doubt will stand me in excellent stead for carving out a career after university.”

In a closely fought competition, the other two finalists also impressed the judges with unique and innovative entries. Joel Hayes, of Northumbria University, presented an autonomous vehicle promotion campaign called ‘Be Driven’, while Manuel Agustin Yepez Corsetti, from the University of Glasgow, created a concept that harvests waste energy with thermoelectric materials.

Name University Concept Title
Joshua de Wit University of Sussex Stacked graphene battery
Joel Hayes Northumbria University ‘Be Driven’ – Autonomous vehicle promotion campaign
Manuel Agustin Yepez Corsetti University of Glasgow Harvesting waste energy with

thermoelectric materials

Martin Bohling, ‎global managing partner at Courland Automotive, commented: “It is truly a delight and honour to be involved in this award and to have the opportunity to meet such capable, passionate and extraordinary young talent. We will indeed be fortunate to have any one of the finalists pursue a career in the automotive industry.”

Autocar editor-in-chief Steve Cropley, added: “This award continues to go from strength to strength in its quest to identify, nurture and inspire the talent of the future for the automotive industry. It has been extremely difficult this year to narrow our entries down to just a handful, a testament to how talented and impressive the entries were this year.

“I would like to personally congratulate not only the winner, Joshua, but also the finalists who came extremely close. The ideas and concepts they all produced were some of the finest the award has seen and it was difficult to choose a clear winner. If this award is anything to go by, the future is certainly bright for the automotive industry.”

Applications for the 2017 Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award will open early next year. For more information, visit Autocar Next Generation Award.