What this is: Clearly, this is a building. Specifically, it is the “Sir Harry Ricardo Innovation & Sustainable Transport Centre” at the Ricardo plc (www.ricardo.com) site in Shoreham-by Sea, West Sussex, UK, a site where Ricardo has been based since 1919. It is part of a £6.4-million investment that the engineering company has invested at its technical center in Shoreham. During the ceremonies that included the opening of the building by HRH The Duke of York (a.k.a., Prince Andrew) on October 23, 2008, Ricardo CEO Dave Shemmans said, “Ricardo has from its foundation been committed to the development of new technologies and innovations powering all forms of transportation, and has been at the very forefront of efforts to improve fuel efficiency and reduce harmful emissions.”
Why this matters: Clearly, Ricardo, like other vehicle suppliers of services (or goods), must be under financial pressures. Yet the company has invested approximately $11-million in this new center dedicated to dealing with issues such as sustainability, including a move from fossil fuels, emissions reduction, and other efficiency improvements for vehicles of all types, from passenger cars to Formula One cars. Undoubtedly, they’re making a bet that this is going to become an area where there will be greater investments by OEMs and suppliers that wish to remain competitive in the years to come.