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Government launches £20m EV innovation fund

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The Government has announced £20m of funding for the development of new technology that will support the shift to electric vehicles (EVs).

It is launching a research and development competition for innovations such as zero emission emergency vehicles, charging technology or EV battery recycling.

Businesses can apply for a grant if they have a solution for one or more of the following challenges:

  • Improve ZEV range capability
  • Increase adoption of small commercial ZEVs
  • Support transition to zero emission for special use vehicles
  • Improve ZEV user experience
  • Improve sustainability of ZEVs

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “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.

“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.”

Among the previous winners is a zero emission ambulance prototype for London Ambulance Service. Designed by ULEMCo, the ambulance can reach speeds of 90 mph and travel an average of 200 miles a day with zero emissions.

Another successful bidder was tech start-up Urban Foresight, which was given £3 million to develop pop-up chargers that rise up out of the pavement to provide a discreet, safe and low-cost EV charging solution to those without off-street parking.

Simon Edmonds, deputy executive chair and chief business officer at Innovate UK, added: “Innovations to increase the uptake of zero-emission vehicles will make our air cleaner while supporting innovative UK businesses.

“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.”

David Watson, CEO and founder of EV smart charging company Ohme, believes we need to see much more "concerted investment" in innovative technologies that can accelerate progress towards electrification. 

He welcomed the Government support for businesses who he said are "leading the charge".

However, he said: "It’s important to remember that the electric vehicles themselves are just one piece of the puzzle. In addition to vehicle technology, charging infrastructure and battery production, we also need to prioritise investments in smart charging solutions that will manage demand, balance the grid and facilitate a smooth transition to zero-carbon transport.”

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