Alternative fuel transport projects given �80m grant boost

Fuel cell vans and the next generation of electric and hybrid buses are among the latest to receive money from a £1bn funding pot to ensure the UK car industry is at the top of its game.

Four new projects were awarded grants on Friday to accelerate green technology in the UK through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) backed by the government and industry.

A new generation of electric and hybrid buses will be developed by Wrightbus after it was allotted £8.6m, while a high efficiency transmission and electric drive by hofer powertrain UK will receive £16.4m in a £32.8m programme.

More money will also go into a hydrogen fuel cell range extender for electric van fleets in a joint £12.7m project led by Intelligent Energy and another £13m to develop diesel engines for off-highway use in a £25.1m project by Perkins Engines for worldwide export.

Vince Cable, the business secretary, said: “Green technology is needed to drive the cars of the future, and UK designers and manufacturers must continue to lead innovators in this field.

“With projects as diverse as developing high efficiency transmissions to creating a new generation of electric and hybrid buses, the Advanced Propulsion Centre is one of the driving forces behind the development of new technology to fuel the green engines of the future, enabling our car industry to be truly world beating.”

The joint industry and government £1bn investment through the APC is selected by twice-yearly funding competitions.
Bids will be soon expected from project teams for the next round of cash worth £100m.

Tony Pixton, APC’s chief executive, said: “We encourage all companies to start discussions with potential partners now in order to be ready for the next round of grant funding available later this year.”

The APC was founded in 2013 through the Automotive Council to lead the way in low carbon powertrain development and production.

The government and industry have each committed to provide £500m to APC over 10 years.

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