The UK government has announced it will be funding a number of projects to power up the electric vehicle (EV) revolution through a £20m research and development competition.
Among the winning projects are an onboard plug-in device that provides drivers with data on battery health to improve the experience of buying secondhand EVs; a kinetic battery that will provide a temporary power boost for charging EVs at peak times in rural areas; a zero emission ambulance with a hydrogen range extender; and the development of a solar-powered refrigeration unit for small commercial vehicles.
The funding, awarded to 62 promising electric vehicle technology innovations, could unlock some of the biggest barriers to EV ownership by providing groundbreaking solutions to battery health and charging for both urban and rural areas.
The Department for Transport has also launched a project to find an iconic British design for public chargepoints, which could see our chargepoints become as recognizable as a red post box or a black cab. The resulting design is set to be unveiled at COP26 in Glasgow this November
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“Ahead of major climate summit COP26 this year, investment in exciting projects such as these is key to making the switch to electric vehicles more attractive for drivers than ever before.
Not only will they propel us further towards our net-zero ambitions, they will also help harness some of the brightest talent in the UK tech industry, encouraging businesses to become global leaders in EV innovation and creating jobs as we build back better.”
Previous research and development funding from the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) has supported the UK’s first solar electric forecourt in Braintree, Essex. The solar canopy and the multi-megawatt battery storage system provide sustainable and low-cost energy, as well as helping to balance demands on the electricity grid. The project hopes to make EV charging as easy as using a petrol station.
A separate project is trialing vehicle-to-grid technology, enabling EVs to store and sell energy back to the grid during increased levels of demand. The owners of the 320 EVs involved in the trial saved an average of £420 on their annual electricity bills.