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£50m funding awarded to three UK zero carbon automotive projects

Three UK-based zero carbon automotive projects have secured government funding via the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

The combined award of £25.4m, provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and delivered by Innovate UK, will support the development of three innovative projects. Industry contributions are estimated to bring the total value of funding to at least £50m for the following projects:

– Hydrogen fuel cells for buses and large vehicles
– An electric bus drivetrain that integrates heating, cooling and ventilation to reduce energy consumption
– A lightweight electric drive unit for a variety of new vehicles that offers increased range, power and torque

Projects awarded funding include hydrogen fuel cells for buses and large vehicles and an electric bus drivetrain / Picture: Getty/iStock


With the whole of the UK committed to net zero carbon by 2050, following legislation published in June, each project is built on collaboration, bringing together industry and academia to ensure ideas are developed and brought to market quickly.

This current round of funding creates or safeguards almost 4,000 jobs in the UK, upskilling employees in roles including research, development and manufacturing. The three winning projects are:

Jaguar Land Rover – CompETe

All new Jaguar and Land Rover vehicle models will have an electrified option from 2020 and, as part of this strategy, the company has partnered with world class academics at the University of Warwick and Newcastle University, and industrial partners Lyra Electronics, Fuchs Lubricants, C.Brandauer & Co. Limited, Motor Design Limited, Tata Steel and Inetic Limited. Together, they will create an electric drive unit with class-leading efficiency, high power and torque density. The lightweight and compact unit will be supported by a newly developed UK production supply chain and is set to be assembled at their Engine Management Centre in Wolverhampton.

Intelligent Energy – Project Esther

Loughborough-based Intelligent Energy’s project will secure the UK’s position at the forefront of the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle market. Working with Alexander Dennis and Changan UK R&D Centre, the company will establish a UK fuel-cell production capability to deliver zero emission drivetrain solutions for large passenger cars, buses and heavy-duty transport. The new modular fuel cell system, supported by an expanded supply chain, will be lower cost than current options.

Equipmake – CELEB 2

A consortia lead by Equipmake, will develop novel electric bus architecture that significantly improves efficiency, reduces unit cost and accelerates market uptake. Drivetrains that are fully integrated with heating, cooling and ventilation systems will reduce energy consumption by over 30% compared with existing technologies, with the first vehicles entering testing in London and Buenos Aires within two years.

The current round of zero-carbon automotive sector funding creates or safeguards almost 4,000 jobs in the UK / Picture: Getty/iStock


Business Minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said: “Investing in cleaner, greener technologies for our world-leading automotive industry will help us reach our target to wipe out our contribution to climate change by 2050.

“Through the Advanced Propulsion Centre, we’ve provided over £420m to support ideas which have brought low or zero carbon vehicles to market. The three new projects announced today will ensure we keep our foot on the pedal and help the UK to go further, faster.”

Ian Constance, Chief Executive of the APC, added: “The winning projects were selected following rigorous assessment and were ranked based on the value they create for the UK economy. These three projects all develop new UK production supply chains, as well as many hundreds of employment opportunities. We have high regard for the sharing of knowledge between industry and academia, therefore ensuring the creation of a highly-skilled and experienced zero carbon automotive sector.”

Over an initial 10-year lifespan, the APC has a goal to save 50 million tonnes of CO2 emissions from the automotive industry, supporting the government’s Net Zero plans. It is therefore investing in technologies that help lower emissions and protect the environment. The APC facilitates the relationship between government and companies leading UK-based projects aimed at advancing low-carbon automotive technology.

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