The government has awarded over £78 million of funding to projects related to the development of low carbon vehicles in a further push to grow the UK industry as part of its industrial strategy.
Business secretary Greg Clark and transport minister John Hayes unveiled funding for 14 separate projects yesterday (11 April), intended to draw significant funding from industry.
Seven will share £62 million in grants from the latest round of funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), the joint industry-government programme intended to put the UK at the forefront of low carbon vehicle technology.
Among them are projects to be led by BMW, Ford and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), all of which have secured funding from the government just weeks after bosses expressed their concerns over the impact of Brexit on their UK operations.
BMW will collaborate with others to design, develop and produce power dense batteries in the UK; Ford and its partners will develop combined system optimisation; and JLR will lead a consortium of UK manufacturers, technology companies and universities to develop lightweight vehicle technology to reduce emissions while maintaining the performance of future models.
Other projects awarded APC funding include one by Westfield Sportscars, which will lead a group to deliver a new compact hybrid powertrain, and Williams Advanced Engineering which will develop high performance, cost competitive batteries for high performance, low to medium volume applications.
Ian Constance, chief executive of the APC, said: “The APC funding demonstrates the depth of low carbon development that is now possible in the UK. From powertrain, to lightweighting, to energy storage, these new projects will not only lower emissions but secure thousands of jobs, address supply chain gaps, and help the UK become a true global leader in advanced vehicle technology.”
Meanwhile, a further seven projects have won £16.7 million in funding from the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV). Both Ford and JLR have secured additional funds under these grants – almost £1.7 million and £2.7 respectively – for R&D funding to reduce vehicle weight and increase aerodynamics.
Other funded projects include £4.8 million to develop powertrain technology for heavy duty vehicles; £2 million to trial a zero emission, high performance sports car; £1.8 million to develop electric motor technology; and over £3.5 million across two projects to develop technology for electric or fuel efficient buses.
The funding from OLEV and the APC joins millions more for research into connected autonomous cars.
Greg Clark said: “Low carbon and driverless cars are the future and as a government we are determined through the Industrial Strategy to build on our strengths and put the UK at the forefront of this revolution. Investment in this technology is an integral part of this government’s efforts, to ensure the UK auto sector remains competitive and world-leading.
“The projects being awarded funding today [11 April] will help extend our excellence in these cutting edge research fields, helping to safeguard jobs while ensuring the UK remains the go-to destination for automotive excellence.”
The government also announced the continuation of grants for plug-in electric vehicles, with drivers able to benefit from up to £4,500 off the cost of an ultra-low emission car, up to £2,500 off a hybrid and receive £500 towards the installation of a charge point in their home.