Government powers up £43m fund for e-motorbikes and off-road e-truck R&D

Ministers have this morning unlocked more than £43m in government and industry funding for research and development into electric motorbikes and electric delivery trucks.

Delivered through the government-backed Advanced Propulsion Center (APC’s) collaborative research and development competition, the funding has been handed to two projects that aim to develop and scale less mature segments of the electric vehicle (EV) market, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy annouced today.

Up to £17.2m has been earmarked for Project Zero Emission Norton in the Midlands, which is aiming to develop an electric motorbike with a high level of race performance and touring range.

A further £17.1m is to be funneled to OX Delivery CLEAN project in Warwickshire, which aims to develop an all-terrain electric vehicle truck for emerging markets that can withstand tough off-road conditions using long-life, lower cost batteries.

The projects are set to secure more than 550 jobs and save 27.6 million tons of CO2, the equivalent of removing the lifetime emissions of 1.1 million cars from the road, the government said.

“This funding, delivered through the government-backed Advanced Propulsion Centre, will support UK businesses at the cutting edge of the automotive industry to trial the very latest tech, from the development of electric motorbikes to off-road trucks,” Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone said. “Supporting these strategically important technologies lays the path for our electric vehicle sector to compete on a global scale, driving jobs and growth nationwide whilst also creating cleaner, more sustainable modes of transport.”

The government also announced that it has mobilized £9.4m in matched government-industry funding through its Automotive Transformation Fund for 19 early-stage proposals that could bolster the UK’s electric vehicle supply chain.

Recipients include a study exploring how to manufacture of high-power battery technology, and proposals exploring the feasibility of an electric vehicle battery recycling plant and a standalone lithium refining facility in the UK, the government said.

“The projects receiving today’s investment highlight the breadth of technologies needed to help the UK accelerate to net zero emissions,” said Ian Constance, chief executive of the APC. “They’re reimagining not just vehicles, but transport in general.”

The funding announcement comes just a few days after the government axed the Plug-in Car Grant, its flagship subsidy program for electric cars, pledging to redirect unspent funds towards emerging electric mobility markets, such as taxis, vans, trucks, and motorcycles.

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