Net-zero motoring moved a step closer today as the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) announced almost £92 million combined government and industry funding has been committed to four innovative projects, aiming to tackle range anxiety and find solutions to decarbonise commercial and heavy-duty transport.
Together the four projects are estimated to prevent nearly 32 million tonnes CO₂, which is equivalent to the lifetime tailpipe emissions of 1.3 million cars and will help safeguard or create over 2,700 jobs.
Speaking about today’s announcement Ian Constance, Chief Executive at the APC, 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 barriers 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.”
- £41.2 million of joint industry and government funding will be guided into 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 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 electric vehicles
- £26.2 million of joint industry and government funding 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
- £14.6 million of joint industry and government funding 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
- £9.7 million of joint industry and government funding 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.
Minister for Investment, 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.”
Mike Charlton, REE Chief Operating Officer, said: “REE is delighted to have been selected as recipient of APC funding to support REE investment in the UK automotive ecosystem following an extensive vetting and selection process. The UK is an ideal location for a pioneering automotive company like REE thanks to the country’s commitment to vehicle electrification which dovetails with our vision towards propelling a zero-emissions, greener future for our generation and those to come.”
Andreas Loehrke, Head of Research and Design for BMW Motorsport Ltd. 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.”
Jonathan Atkinson, Executive Director of Cummins On-highway Business in Europe, said: “Confirmation of the strategic support awarded by APC is excellent news for Cummins and our world-class research and development facility in Darlington. This project will significantly accelerate the pace of hydrogen engine development, ensuring that the UK is in the vanguard of this exciting new technology which will play a significant part in decarbonising the global commercial vehicle fleet.
“The APC18 project will maintain and upskill many hundreds of key technical jobs, not just at Cummins and our consortium partners but across our total supply base. In the mid-to-long term it offers major potential to expand our high-value export business, supplying hydrogen engines and sub-systems manufactured in the UK to customers around the world.”
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.”
Image: courtesy REE