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Government invests £80m in tech for electric cars and planes

Image credit: Dreamstime

The UK Government has announced an £80m investment in key technologies for the next generation of EVs, including electric planes.

In particular, it is funding development into power electronics and electric machines and drives (PEMD), a family of technologies that sit at the core of many electric and hybrid engines.

It will help to fund proof of concept programmes and industrialisation centres that will provide “a focal point for the business community”. The Government also hopes it will streamline high volume supply chains.

“Companies like Jaguar and Lotus are choosing the UK to develop their new electric vehicles, while Easy Jet and Rolls Royce have chosen the UK to develop their hybrid planes – all recognising and investing in the expertise and talents of the UK,” said Business Secretary Greg Clark. “The UK leads the world on combatting climate change and is the first major economy to legislate for net zero,” he added referencing a new law introduced in June which commits the UK to reducing its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.

This investment is part of the Industrial Strategy Future of Mobility Grand Challenge which has a number of targets to achieve by 2040 including eliminating diesel rolling stock from UK railways, accelerating the delivery of electric and hybrid aircraft and delivering zero carbon road transport.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, chief executive of UK Research and Innovation, said: “Driving the Electric Revolution will strengthen the UK’s capability to deliver next generation electric vehicles, hybrid aircraft and smart grids. It will ensure these industries, both large and small, are rooted here in the UK attracting inward investment into our manufacturing base.”

Ricardo’s Dr Will Drury said: “Underpinning the drive to reduce our carbon footprint and decrease global reliance on fossil fuels is electrification.

“This is occurring across every sector of society from energy generation for our homes to how we move about. Driving Electric Revolution challenge will underpin the growth of the UK supply chain critical to enlarge GDP and jobs in Power Electronics, Machines and Drives; an area in which the UK already has global recognition.”

Earlier this month, BMW announced it will build electric versions of the Mini in its Oxford factory with customers receiving their first deliveries in Spring 2020, a sparse piece of good news for the UK’s automotive sector which has suffered from uncertainties over Brexit.

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