Sustainable automotive technology is to receive a £43.7million boost in joint funding from industry and government, which is expected to secure hundreds of jobs.
The development of auto tech such as electric motorbikes and off-road vehicles, designed for emerging markets, could also see a saving of around 27.6 million tonnes of carbon emissions (CO2),the equivalent of removing the lifetime emissions of 1.1 million cars from the road.
The projects, which could secure 550 new jobs, include an all-terrain, 4x4 electric delivery truck as well as the electric motorcycles. Both have been awarded the funding, which is in its 19thround, through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) Collaborative Research and Development competition.
APC’s work aims to drive innovation and collaboration to build robust foundations for a sustainable UK automotive industry to thrive. Its competition supports innovations surrounding low carbon auto tech which will strongly position the UK to secure electric vehicle (EV) supply chains and unleash economic opportunities surrounding cleaner transport.
The first enterprise is Project Zero Emission Norton in Solihull, West Midlands, which will see the development of an electric motorbike, delivering high performance in terms of race and touring range. The initiative received £17.2m (£8.5m funding through the APC) to conduct the project which will not only enhance workforce capabilities and secure local jobs, but also strengthen the UK’s competitive supply chain.
The second project is OX Delivers CLEAN (Clean Logistics for Emerging African Nations) in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. It received £17.1m (£8.5m through the APC) to develop an all-terrain electric delivery truck in the UK for emerging markets. It will withstand tough off-road conditions by using long-life, lower cost batteries.
Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment, said: “This funding, delivered through the government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre, will support UK businesses at the cutting edge of the automotive industry to trial the very latest tech, from the development of electric motorbikes to off-road trucks.
“Supporting these strategically important technologies lays the path for our electric vehicle sector to compete on a global scale, driving jobs and growth nationwide whilst also creating a cleaner, more sustainable modes of transport.”
Other proposals (19 early-stage studies) that could strengthen the UK EV supply chain have also been awarded funding to research, prove or enhance the case for their scale up, which could potentially also create more job opportunities in the UK.
These six-month projects will be supported with £9.4m in matched government-industry money through the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF). The development of EV battery components and the viability of using UK-sourced critical minerals will be under the spotlight for thorough scrutiny.
In 2019 the UK government committed the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to accelerate the development of a net-zero vehicle supply chain, enabling UK-based manufacturers to serve global markets.
ATF investments are awarded through the APC to support strategically important UK capital and research and development investments that will enable companies involved in batteries, fuel cells, motors and drives, power electronics, recycling and associated supply chains to secure their future.
Ian Constance, Chief Executive at the APC, said: “The projects receiving today’s investment highlight the breadth of technologies needed to help the UK accelerate to net zero emissions. They’re reimagining not just vehicles, but transport in general.”
Simon Davis, Managing Director, OX Delivers said: “Developing a truck for Pay-As-You-Go service requires a completely different approach compared to a traditional vehicle. The Advanced Propulsion Centre have been brilliant champions of OX Delivers as we progressed our first electric truck.
“As a UK business we are delighted to be awarded further support to work in partnership with large and small-scale businesses and lead the decarbonisation of emerging market transport using the latest Industry 4.0 technology and UK EV expertise. This award reinforces OX’s game-changing vision for emerging markets and is more exciting momentum for our innovative and dynamic automotive start-up.”
Lewis Murray, Senior Consultant – Sustainable Energy at Acre UK, said:"APC works alongside UK government, the automotive industry and academia to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies, for a smooth delivery of net-zero emission vehicles and has funded 172 low-carbon projects since it was set up in 2013.
It has not only helped to create or safeguard nearly 50,000 UK jobs, but the technologies developed in these projects are projected to save more than 297 million tonnes of CO2 - equivalent to removing the lifetime emissions from 12 million cars."
Lewis works for Acre’s Sustainable Energy team, leading executive mandates in the UK and internationally in the renewable energy and carbon markets. Prior to Acre, Lewis spent over 5 years supporting market-leading Energy organisations and consultancies with senior-level staff across multiple technologies and geographies.