Specialised vehicle engineering company fully charged following funding from Santander UK
Astra Vehicle Technologies, based in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire specialises in commercial vehicle chassis conversion and modification services, along with the design and supply of specialist exhaust systems and emission control products. Founded in 2005, the business offers a ‘one-stop-shop’ for commercial vehicle customisation.
With growing demand to reduce commercial vehicle emissions, Astra Vehicle Technologies has recently expanded into the electric vehicle conversion market. Santander UK is supporting the company’s push into this important sector with a six-figure funding package.
The company has used the funding to import electric drive conversion kits developed for specific light commercial vehicle models in the 3.5 – 7.2 tonne weight sector, and to fulfil its first order in a contract with a major minibus body builder to convert several models within its vehicle portfolio to electric drive. Some of the funding has also gone toward the build of an electric vehicle demonstrator to show to prospective clients.
Astra Vehicle Technologies currently employs a staff of about 20, all based at Ellesmere Port, and it plans to grow its team in line with future growth in the electric drive conversion market. It anticipates that within a year, electric drive conversions will represent 40% of its business, up from 10% currently. The company offers electric drive conversion for minibuses and light commercial trucks, and anticipates growing demand from local authorities in particular, as they increasingly move to electric to reduce their carbon footprint and improve air quality.
In addition to electric drive conversions, Astra Vehicle Technologies also provides: dual steering installations; additional passenger side windows on heavy goods vehicles to help drivers see cyclists and pedestrians; induction brakes and electromagnetic retarders; hybrid drive conversions; and emission control and exhaust products, among other services.
John Chadderton, managing director, Astra Vehicle Technologies said: “Santander UK’s support helps us secure our future in this rapidly changing marketplace. Although major manufacturers are developing a position in electric vehicles, they are primarily focused on car derived vans, panel vans and heavy vehicle applications such as refuse collection. Astra Vehicle Technologies provides much wider application engineering to develop a full vehicle solution, particularly in the 3.5 – 7.2 tonne weight sector, where there are a host of different vehicle body types to address including the provision of electric solutions.“
Jonathan Barnes, relationship director at Santander UK, said: “Astra Vehicle Technologies is playing a key role in helping reduce commercial vehicle emissions through bespoke conversion to electric drive. As one of the few companies in the UK to provide this service, Santander UK is pleased to support it in leading the way in this important sector.”