The winner of the prestigious Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award 2017 has been named as Tom Lingard, a mechanical engineering graduate from Teeside University.

Currently working as a validation engineer, Tom (25) scooped the award by proposing an idea for an exhaust gas driven power generator for downsized engines.

The innovative power generator, driven by exhaust gas, could generate enough power to top up the charge of a hybrid car’s battery or drive ancillaries like coolant and fuel pumps.

The Next Generation Award offers the winner a platform on which to build or develop a career within the automotive industry. The announcement of the 2017 winner was made at the annual Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) dinner on Tuesday evening. Tom will now start a six month work experience journey with award sponsors including Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren Automotive, Nissan, Toyota, Honda and Horiba MIRA.

Tom, from Stockton on Tees, said: “It is an honour to be announced as the winner of the Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award 2017. It has been a fantastic experience – from the intense judging process to the mentoring programme.

“It’s extremely exciting to have won the internship rotation and to be able to experience everything over 6 months right at the beginning rather than over the space of 20 years, it’s an incredible opportunity.”

Tom’s idea was considered innovative and topical by the Award judges, coming at a time when huge effort is being made by the whole industry to improve the efficiency and performance of hybrid power units.

In his pitch, Tom argued that when his exhaust gas driven generator is applied to a range extender like the BMW i3, whose charge engine operates in a restricted speed range, the system could improve efficiency by as much as 25%.

Two other finalists were also recognised for their innovative proposals, aimed at improving vehicle performance and the sustainability of the motoring network.

Jack Levy, a mechanical engineering student at Cardiff University, submitted a plan to introduce a network of contactless charging roads to UK motorways, to reduce current range anxiety with electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, Stephen Crossley, an automotive engineering student at Oxford Brookes University, set out to improve handling, traction, cornering ability and tyre wear rate by altering the camber based on a driver’s requirements.

Name University Concept Title
Tom Lingard Teeside University Exhaust Gas Driven Power Generator
Stephen Crossley Oxford Brookes University Active Camber Change
Jack Levy Cardiff University Contactless Charging Roads


Martin Bohling, ‎Global Managing Partner at Courland Automotive, commented: “The Next Generation Award enters its ninth year of success, during which time we have seen a host of talent flourish under its banner and go on to notable success in the global automotive industry. From the finalists we have seen this year, 2017 will be no different. All of the judges on our panel look forward to this time of year and the opportunity to celebrate once again the undoubted talent the UK automotive industry has to offer.”

Autocar Editor-in-Chief, Steve Cropley, said: “The initiative has delivered, once again, a phenomenal level of talent with some highly innovative ideas that could seriously improve the automotive industry. Tom’s idea evaluated industry demands combined with a changing vehicle landscape.

“With the volume of high-quality entries, it has been a challenging task narrowing it down to the finalists and an overall winner. It has been an honour to work with each and every finalist and I would personally like to congratulate them all. There are definitely exciting times ahead for the industry.”

Applications for the 2018 Autocar-Courland Next Generation Award will open early next year. For more information, visit Autocar Next Generation Award.