Smart Transport

Zero-emission vehicle projects receive £20m boost

Projects that aim to improve the experience of buying a second-hand electric vehicle (EV), support charging in rural areas and increase vehicle range have received £20m in funding.

The winners of the research and development funding announced by transport secretary Grant Shapps include:

  • an onboard plug-in device that provides drivers with data on battery health to help improve the experience of buying second-hand EVs
  • a kinetic battery that will provide a temporary power boost for charging the next generation of ultra-fast EVs at peak times in rural areas
  • a zero-emission ambulance with a hydrogen range extender designed from the ground up
  • the development of a solar-powered refrigeration unit for small commercial vehicles

The funding, awarded to 62 EV technology innovations, could unlock some of the barriers to EV ownership by providing solutions to battery health and charging for both urban and rural areas, the Government said.

Shapps said: “Ahead of major climate summit COP26 this year, investment in exciting projects such as these is key to making the switch to electric vehicles more attractive for drivers than ever before.

“Not only will they propel us further towards our net-zero ambitions, they will also help harness some of the brightest talent in the UK tech industry, encouraging businesses to become global leaders in EV innovation and creating jobs as we build back better.”

Silviya Barrett at the Campaign for Better Transport said: “This announcement is a welcome step on the road to increasing the take-up of electric vehicles. Innovations like the ones announced today can help stimulate demand and grow British manufacturing in this vital industry.

“Coupled with measures to improve the public transport network and encourage its use, we can start to truly tackle carbon emissions, air pollution and congestion and move towards a greener, fairer recovery.”

Government said previous research and development funding from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) has supported the UK’s first solar electric forecourt in Braintree, Essex.

A separate project is trialling vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, enabling EVs to store and sell energy back to the grid during increased levels of demand.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has also launched a project to find an ‘iconic British design’ for public charge points, which could see them become as recognisable as a red post box or a black cab, according to government.

The resulting design is set to be unveiled at COP26 in Glasgow this November.

View the winners of the Transitioning towards Zero Emission Vehicles and Niche Vehicle Network programme funding.

Watch now: Connecting Policy To Solutions Virtual Conference 2021

Smart Transport Conference returned on June 8th & 9th, to facilitate pivotal discussions on the future of transport. 

The UK’s most senior public and private sector transport leaders discussed the impact of Covid-19, achieving the Government’s decarbonisation ambitions, the need for more efficient living and better health, and much more.

Keynote speakers included: 

Kwasi Kwarteng, secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who spoke on BEIS's approach to decarbonising transport, particularly the electrification of the vehicle industry

Keith Williams, co-author of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, who spoke on rail’s role in integrated transport, decarbonisation and innovation.

Rachel Maclean, parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department for Transport, who discussed the future of transport and its pivotal role in a ‘green recovery’ from the pandemic.


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