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Prime Minister announces £100m R&D fund for greener vehicles

Zero Emission Vehicle Summit takes place in Birmingham

Mark Moran
11 September 2018
Theresa May
Theresa May

 

New funding of more than £100m for R&D into low and zero-emission vehicles in the UK has been announced by Prime Minister Theresa May at the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Birmingham. The £106m funding package covers projects developing innovative green battery, vehicle and refuelling technology.

The Prime Minister referred to her “ambitious mission” for the UK to become world leader in low emission technology as part of a drive to keep the country green. She said: “Our Road to Zero Strategy is the most comprehensive plan globally, mapping out in detail how we will reach our target for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero-emission by 2040.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, Business Secretary Greg Clark and Trade Secretary, Liam Fox were also be in attendance.

During summit the Prime Minister hosted an automotive roundtable with supply-chain companies from Germany, the USA, Japan, China, Spain and India. The meeting was set up to explore how the government and industry can work together to accelerate the development of the zero-emissions market and to highlight the UK’s work in low emissions vehicles.

This is the third in the government’s series of investment roundtables which promote UK industry sector opportunities to a global audience, and drive foreign direct-investment into the UK as we prepare to leave the European Union.

The government has also unveiled an international declaration that will forge the way for the worldwide deployment of green vehicles, and the introduction of smart, zero-emission infrastructure. The first signatories to the ‘Birmingham Declaration’ include Italy, France, Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Belarus and Indonesia, with more nations currently in talks to sign up. It is hoped that this will form the basis of increasing international engagement at climate conferences throughout the year to accelerate the global transition.

The Prime Minister said: “I want to see Britain, once again, leading from the front and working with industries and countries around the world to spearhead change. That is why I have set this country an ambitious mission. To put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles, and for all new cars and vans to be, effectively, zero-emission by 2040.

“Already, we are taking significant strides forward. Our electric UK-manufactured cars account for one-in-five sold in Europe. Our batteries are among the best in the world. And our Road to Zero Strategy is the most comprehensive plan globally – mapping out, in detail, how we will reach our target for all new cars and vans to be, effectively, zero-emission by 2040 – and for every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050.

“Today we have provided over £100m of funding for innovators in ultra-low emission vehicles and hydrogen technology. With a further £500m of investment from key industries in this sector. These measures will drive the design, use, uptake and infrastructure necessary for cleaner, greener vehicles – and in doing so, it will help us drastically reduce a major contributor to our global warming emissions, as we seek to meet the Paris Climate Change Agreement.”

The work is all part of the government’s Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, outlined in its modern Industrial Strategy, aiming to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make travel safer, improve accessibility, and present enormous economic opportunities for the UK.

Industry investment

At the Zero Emission Vehicle Summit, industry has announced that it is investing over £500m in projects relating to low emission technology. These announcements include:

  • JEE is investing around £6m in the UK to establish an assembly and testing facility in Birmingham.
  • Aston Martin are announcing a further £50m investment at its new St Athan facility in Wales, which will become its centre for electrification and the home of the Lagonda brand.
  • Cummins will invest £210m in Research and Development in the automotive (and associated) industries over the next three years in the UK.
  • The EV Network, UK-based charging station development company, is developing 200 fast-charging stations throughout the UK, representing an investment of around £200m. The company has joined forces with Leclanché who will be supplying the battery storage solutions to the stations. EVN and Leclanché are announcing an EV Charging Centre of Excellence in Warwick.
  • New Williams Advanced Engineering and Unipart Manufacturing Group joint-venture Hyperbat will open an independent vehicle battery manufacturing plant in Coventry in early 2019.
  • Zhuzhou CRRC Times Electric (TEC), a subsidiary of CRRC, has confirmed Birmingham as the location for its new £50m UK R&D Innovation Centre for EVs, rail, and renewable.
  • Lloyds Banking Group is launching a new £1m fund for electric vehicle leases to incentivise zero-emission driving. The fund is for the first 1,000 customers who sign up for a pure electric vehicle from Lex Autolease, the vehicle leasing arm of the group, from January 2019.
  • Ryobi Aluminium Casting UK are investing £7m in melting furnace and die-casting machines to increase production of precision transmission components.
  • Lear Corporation is investing £54m in its UK seating operations, with £19m to go into capital and training and £35m into engineering.
  • Science and engineering company QinetiQ is expanding its Power Sources, Energy Storage & Distribution business, growing its team by 25% and making an initial £2m investment in facilities in Farnborough over the next nine months.
  • Leoni will be investing £7m in a new technical centre in South Warwickshire, creating over 100 new design & development jobs, working with major OEMs in developing technologies for the next generation of autonomous and electric vehicles.
  • MINTH plans to establish a new facility in UK to service new orders from UK OEMs and is developing new products to reflect the shift towards light-weight electrification and autonomous driving in the automotive industry.

 
 
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