BMW electric car being charged

Funding boost for EV battery with range of internal combustion engine

Image credit: Marc Heckner | Unsplash

The UK government has announced £91.7m funding for green automotive engineering projects, including electric vehicle (EV) batteries with range similar to internal combustion engines and batteries which can charge in as little as 12 minutes.

The funding covers four projects and is awarded through the Advanced Propulsion Centre’s R&D competition, which supports the development of low-carbon automotive technology which is more affordable, reliable, efficient and convenient. According to a government statement, the four projects have the combined potential to save almost 32 million tonnes of carbon emissions (equivalent to lifetime emissions of 1.3 million cars) and secure 2,700 jobs.

“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,” said Lord Grimstone, the minister for investment.

“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.”

£26.2m has been awarded to the Oxford-based BMW-UK-BEV project to develop an EV battery to rival the range of internal combustion engines and put to rest “range anxiety”. Andreas Loehrke, head of R&D for BMW, 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 [R&D] centre.”

REEcorner, based in Nuneaton, has claimed the largest share of the funding (£41.2m). The project aims to redesign light and medium-sized commercial EVs entirely by shifting the steering, breaking, suspension, and powertrain into the wheel arch, hopefully enabling increased autonomous capability, storage space, and greater design flexibility.

Birmingham-based Project Celeritas claimed £9.7m to create ultra-fast charging batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles that can charge in as little as 12 minutes, while Darlington-based BRUNEL got £14.6m to develop a zero-emission, hydrogen-fuelled engine intended for HGVs.

Ian Constance, CEO at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, commented: “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 EVs and they also provide potential solutions to the challenge of how we decarbonise public transport and the movement of goods.”

The government aims to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and has opened a consultation on phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel HGVs by 2040 as part of its transport decarbonisation plan.

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