Major funding for low-carbon automotive technology announced

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Electric car batteries with range similar to internal combustion engines and which can charge in as soon as 12 minutes are among projects awarded over £91m of UK government and industry funding today to develop sustainable automotive technology.

Four projects have been awarded funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre Collaborative Research and Development competition, which supports the development of innovative low-carbon automotive technology.

Together the projects could reportedly save almost 32 million tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 1.3 million cars, and secure over 2,700 jobs across the country.

The innovations are designed to address motorists’ concerns about adopting EVs by reducing charge times and boosting driving range, as well as helping to make EVs more affordable, efficient and convenient.

Funding has been awarded to the following projects:

  • £41.2m will be guided into a project led by REE at tits Engineering Centre of Excellence at the MIRA technology park in Nuneaton to develop and manufacture its REEcorner technology, which packs critical vehicle components (including steering, braking, suspension, powertrain and control) into a single compact module located between the chassis and the wheel, enabling fully-flat EV platforms to meet the growing needs for efficient commercial EVs;
  • £26.2m has been committed to a project led by BMW Group to develop an electric battery in Oxford that will rival the range of internal combustion engines;
  • £14.6m will be guided into a project led by Cummins to develop a novel zero carbon, hydrogen-fuelled engine in Darlington, to help decarbonise heavy-duty commercial transport;
  • £9.7m will be committed into a project led by Sprint Power in Birmingham to create ultra-fast charging batteries for electric and fuel-cell hybrid vehicles that can charge in as little as 12 minutes.

UK investment minister for Lord Grimstone said: “By investing tens of millions in the technology needed to decarbonise our roads, not only are we working hard to end our contribution to climate change, but also ensuring our automotive sector has a competitive future that will secure thousands of highly-skilled jobs.

“Seizing the opportunities that arise from the global green automotive revolution is central to our plans to build back greener, and these winning projects will help make the widespread application and adoption of cutting-edge, clean automotive technology a reality.”

The UK government has already announced the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030, and is currently consulting on phasing out the sale of new diesel and petrol heavy goods vehicles by 2040, as set out in the government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan.

It’s hoped that the projects awarded funding today will help make the technological developments needed to meet these goals.

Ian Constance, CEO at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, said: “These projects tackle some really important challenges in the journey to net-zero road transport.

“They address range anxiety and cost, which can be a barrier to people making the switch to electric vehicles and they also provide potential solutions to the challenge of how we decarbonise public transport and the movement of goods.

“By investing in this innovation, we’re taking these technologies closer to the point where they are commercially viable, which will strengthen the UK’s automotive supply chain, safeguard or create jobs and reduce harmful greenhouse emissions.”

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