The government has announced plans to invest £20 million in “electric vehicle innovations” and it’s inviting companies to pitch their ideas. The news comes as the government “cements” its commitment to ending the sale of new petrol- and diesel-powered cars in 2030, with sales of new hybrid cars ending in 2035.
According to the Department for Transport (DfT), the new research and development investment is designed to help make the UK a world leader in electric vehicle (EV) design and production. It’s also intended to “help the UK transition towards all new cars and vans being zero emission by 2035”, as part of the government’s ‘build back greener’ policy.
The government appears not to have set ideas in mind, but is inviting companies and researchers across the country to pitch their ideas to the DfT. New charging technology, zero-emission vehicles and even ways of making the production and disposal processes greener are all on the menu.
It isn’t the first time the government has offered such funding, with investments made in projects including a hydrogen-powered ambulance for London. That vehicle, designed by ULEMCo for the London Ambulance Service, can reach speeds of up to 90 mph and can travel 200 miles a day with no CO2 emissions.
Similarly, the government has also awarded £3 million to start-up firm Urban Foresight, which came up with the idea of ‘hidden’ on-street charging points. The money is being used to develop the high-tech chargers, which rise out of the pavement to serve EV drivers without access to off-street parking.
“Innovations to increase the uptake of zero-emission vehicles will make our air cleaner while supporting innovative UK businesses,” said Simon Edmonds, the deputy executive chair and chief business officer of Innovate UK, a non-departmental public body tasked with supporting business ideas. “Innovate UK has played a crucial role in helping businesses bring their innovations towards reality and we urge those innovators with bright ideas to apply for this vital funding."
Meanwhile Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the funding would also help to create jobs, with the DfT estimating green transport could create around 6,000 skilled jobs over the next decade.
“Investing in innovation is crucial in decarbonising transport, which is why I’m delighted to see creative zero-emission projects across the UK come to life,” said Shapps. “The funding announced today will help harness some of the brightest talent in the UK tech industry, encouraging businesses to become global leaders in EV innovation, creating jobs and accelerating us towards our net-zero ambitions.”