The government has launched a £40 million funding competition to develop new technologies and business models that demonstrate innovative ways of charging electric vehicles (EVs) on street or by using wireless charging.
The funding, released by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK, has been split across two £20 million competitions, the first of which will look at creating public solutions to support EV owners who don’t have suitable off-street parking.
The first phase of the competition will seek to fund between £75,000 – £120,000 each to feasibility studies that set out to offer ‘significant, convenient and low-cost charging facilities’. Expected projects include those providing on-street infrastructure to creating a community charging hubs, bu they must demonstrate commercially feasible business models and solutions.
The best ideas will then be selected to claim between £5 million – £10 million each to fund demonstrator projects lasting up to 18 months.
Project leaders, who are encouraged to work with local authorities and other businesses as part of each project, are expected to provide confidence in their new solutions; encourage EV take-up and maximise local air quality; and provide ‘great experiences’ for end users, both private and public.
The second £20 million competition will fund new wireless charging projects that will allow commercial EV fleets, such as taxis, service vehicles and delivery fleets, to top up their batteries during the day without having to stop to plug in and disrupt their operations.
Expected projects include wireless charging for taxis at stations and airports, or commercial vehicles at depots or delivery bays.
Like the first competition, funding will be split across feasibility studies, with the same per project cash available, and demonstrator projects with between £3 million – £9 million available for each successful applicant.
The government is hoping to see projects that focus on all technologies offering ‘cable-less’ charging, vehicle retrofitting, software and hardware development to support demonstrators, and options for multiple locations.
Both competitions are aimed at addressing what has been perceived a key barrier to up take of EVs in the future, namely that drivers without off-street parking will be left out of the low carbon transport revolution.
Increasing the provision of public charging has been deemed a priority to address this, with the latest funding competitions designed to encourage new technological developments that can be used in years to come.
Both competitions close to new applicants on 29 August, with a separate application process for phase 2 funding expected to start in February 2019, which will only be open to successful applicants from the previous phase.