A government-backed research body has announced awards of up to £55m to support projects which will help improve electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
The Faraday Institution said it would invest in five UK-based consortia projects which will conduct research into new battery chemistries, systems and manufacturing methods.
The funding comes as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) as it aims to upgrade battery production and speed up the roll-out of EVs in the UK.
Business minister Nadhim Zahawi said: ‘Today’s funding backs scientists and innovators to collaborate on projects that will deliver a brighter, cleaner future on our roads.
‘We are committed to ensuring that the UK is at the forefront of developing the battery technologies needed to achieve our aim for all cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040.’
The new projects, expected to run over four years, will address the battery challenges faced by the EV industry with the aim of making new battery technologies and processes commercially available.
The projects funded include Nextrode, a University of Oxford-led project geared towards upgrading electrodes for lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, potentially giving EVs more range and making batteries more durable.
Two of the projects will look at alternatives to traditional lithium-ion batteries – a University of St. Andrews-led project will speed up the development of sodium ion batteries, while UCL will lead a research project on lithium-sulfur (Li-S) technologies.
The five new projects join the Faraday Institution’s four existing projects, which were launched early in 2018 and focus on improving current Li-ion battery technologies.
The projects will be supported by 32 industrial partners, who have pledged a total of £4.4m in in-kind support.
These partners will work closely with researchers to make sure the research produces findings and solutions that will help UK businesses.
Neil Morris, CEO of the Faraday Institution, said: ‘Improvements in EV cost, range and longevity are desired by existing EV owners and those consumers looking to purchase an EV as their next or subsequent car.
‘Our research to improve this web of battery performance indicators (which are different for different sectors) are being researched, with a sense of urgency, by the Faraday Institution and its academic and industrial partners.
‘Our fundamental research programmes are putting the UK at the forefront of this disruptive societal, environmental and economic change.’
A recent survey found that 57% of motorists in the UK cited limited battery range as a concern when it came to them considering buying an EV.
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