The government has announced £12 million worth of funding for “ground-breaking research” into zero emissions transport, including electric vehicle (EV) charging.
Funding will be provided through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and delivered through Innovate UK, and has been announced alongside the introduction of green number plates.
Of the £12 million, £10 million will go to the creation of a new Zero Emission Vehicle Innovation Competition. Applicants will be able to bid for a grant that will help to fund R&D and feasibility work for six-month rapid-delivery projects.
These projects will be focused on the development of on-vehicle and charging technologies, helping to accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles in the UK.
The additional £2 million will got to small- and medium-sized businesses to support research into areas such as battery technology that could contribute to the manufacture of future electric vehicles.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was “key to helping us achieve our net zero carbon commitments while also promoting economic growth."
“We’re supporting small businesses to develop the transport tech of the future through a multi-million pound investment, ensuring that UK businesses remain at the forefront of low carbon innovation and research.’’
EVs had a banner year in 2019 according to a new report published by the International Energy Agency this week. Sales of EVs worldwide topped 2.1 million last year, surpassing 2018 to boost numbers to 7.2 million EVs, according to the Agency’s Global EV Outlook 2020.
Despite the sale of vehicles in general being hit by COVID-19 – with sales falling by 97.3% in April – EV’s saw just a 10% drop in sales in April and the EV charger market is still set to see a 29% year-on-year increase in sales through to 2030.
A spokesperson for Energy Networks Association welcomed the introduction of further EV funding and the green number plates, calling it a “very welcome step forward.”
“It will help to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road; improving air quality and helping us meet our climate targets. We now need to level-up investment in charging infrastructure and the electricity system to make sure that drivers get all the benefits from their electric vehicles.”