Fleet News

Funding for EV battery research to rival ICE driving range

Man plugging in electric car

Four projects have received a share of £91 million to develop low carbon automotive technology, including a new, long-distance electric vehicle (EV) battery.

BMW will receive £26.2m to help develop electric car batteries with a range similar to internal combustion engines and which can charge in as little as 12 minutes.

Andreas Loehrke, head of research and design for BMW Motorsport UK, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to collaborate with world leading companies to develop high tech battery technology.

“It strengthens our UK partner base and safeguards and extends our research and design centre.”

The four projects have been awarded funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) Collaborative Research and Development competition, which supports the development of innovative low carbon automotive technology.

Together, the APC say they could save almost 32 million tonnes of carbon emissions, equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 1.3 million cars, and secure more than 2,700 jobs across the country.

It is also hoped that the innovations will address motorists’ concerns about adopting EVs by cutting charge times and boosting driving range.

Alongside the BMW project, £9.7m of joint industry and Government funding from the APC will go to 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.

Founder and CEO of Sprint Power, Richie Frost, said: “As we move steadily towards the UK’s ban on new petrol and diesel combustion engine vehicles in 2030, tackling consumers’ concerns on EVs head on is critical.

“We are delighted to be leading this pioneering project that will create a step change in battery charge times, helping to create highly efficient fuel cell vehicles for the future and accelerating the charging time on battery electric vehicles significantly closer to refuelling times on today’s internal combustion engine cars.”

The lion’s share of the funding, £41.2m, will be go to a project led by REE at their Engineering Centre of Excellence at the MIRA technology park in Nuneaton to develop and manufacture their REEcorner technology.

It 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 electric vehicles.

The remaining £14.6m will fund a project led by Cummins to develop a novel zero carbon, hydrogen-fuelled engine in Darlington, to help decarbonise heavy-duty commercial transport.

APC CEO, Ian Constance, 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.”

The APC collaborates with UK Government, the automotive industry and academia to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies, supporting the transition to deliver net-zero emission vehicles.

Since its foundation in 2013, APC has funded 170 low-carbon projects involving 402 partners, working with companies of all sizes, and has helped to create or safeguard nearly 50,000 jobs in the UK.

The technologies developed in these projects are projected to save over 288 million tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of removing the lifetime tailpipe emissions from 12 million cars.

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