Businesses in the freight and logistics sector have been invited to compete for up to Â£15 million of government funding to develop technology to reduce emissions from vehicles.
Roads Minister Jesse Norman announced the funding yesterday (21 September), and called called on UK businesses to lead research into low emission technology for lorries, as well as cars and vans.
Funding is being awarded as part of the latest round of the governmentâ€™s Low Emission Freight and Logistics Trial, which has already backed projects for electric and hydrogen fuelled vehicles.
The projects could see materials which make vehicles lighter, or improve the efficiency of engines or batteries, the government has said.
Announcing the funding competition, Mr Norman said: â€œWe have made important progress in lowering emissions and are always looking at further ways of improving air quality.
â€œLorries cause a third of the UKâ€™s transport COâ‚‚ emissions and simple new technologies can have the greatest impact in reducing the harmful pollutants of freight.
â€œThis funding will give UK companies the chance to lead the world in developing important innovations to improve air quality across the country.â€
The competition has been developed with Innovate UK and forms part of the governmentâ€™s ambition to see all new vehicles â€œemission free by 2040â€, it has claimed.
Simon Edmonds, Director Manufacturing and Materials at Innovate UK, said: â€œWe welcome this significant further investment in zero emission research and development funding, in particular its focus on freight and commercial vehicles as this is a major opportunity for UK companies to drive forward innovations.
â€œThe first of the projects in the governmentâ€™s low emission freight and logistics trial, announced earlier this year, are now using new electric and hydrogen dual-fuel vehicles on our roads. By mid-2018, more than 300 of these low emission vehicles will be on UK roads.â€
Innovate UK has also announced funding of up to Â£20 million available for businesses leading research and development projects into low emission technologies for cars, motorbikes, lorries and vans.
Up to Â£18 million is set aside in this competition for research and development projects that develop technologies to support the transition, and a further Â£2 million is set aside for smaller feasibility studies.
Funding for the competition includes Â£15 million from OLEV and Â£5 million from the Faraday Challenge. This is the part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund that will particularly support battery technology.
Projects could look at electric machines and power electronics, energy storage and energy management, lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures, highly disruptive zero emission technologies or propulsion for zero emission medium and heavy goods vehicles.