Funding competition APC - Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator 2 (ARMD2)

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £10 million for late-stage R&D projects that help accelerate the UK towards a net zero automotive future.

This competition is now closed.

Start new application

Competition sections


The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) provides funding, support, insight and foresight for the development of low and zero emission transport solutions, and automotive technologies. It aims to support the UK’s transition towards net zero product manufacturing and supply chain in the UK automotive sector.

In this competition round APC is investing up to £10 million in the Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator 2 (ARMD2).

The aim of this competition is to develop and realise the demonstration of capability that could lead to further business exploitation, utilising future net zero powertrain technology as a key element in the UK transition to zero emissions for the automotive sector.

We are looking for business led late-stage R&D projects that will demonstrate advanced propulsion technologies. The output of these projects must be in the form of a demonstrator. Applications must explain how technology development will be significantly accelerated through your project and must clearly describe how these products will be brought to market.

In applying to this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. This competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated.

Funding type


Project size

Your project’s total grant funding request must be between £500,000 and £1.5 million. Your project must be a minimum of 50% match funded.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request between £500,000 and £1.5 million
  • be a minimum of 50% match-funded
  • start by 1 October 2023
  • last between 9 and 12 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

If your project’s total grant funding request or duration falls outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to at least 10 working days before the competition closes. The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) will decide whether to approve your request.

If you have not requested approval or your application has not been approved by APC, you will be made ineligible. Your application will not be sent for assessment.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • have an active registered business base in the UK
  • be a grant recipient
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations, where applicable

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Academic institutions and research organisations cannot lead projects.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Non-UK registered businesses and research organisations are only eligible to apply for funding if they:

  • set up an active UK-registered business where the funded project work will be carried out
  • provide evidence of an intention to expand their R&D activity in the UK during and after the project

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service (IFS) by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once accepted, partners will be asked to login or to create an account and enter their own project costs into IFS.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.


Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.

You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

There are no limits on the number of applications an organisation can be involved in. If you are successful in more than one application you will be asked to confirm you have the capacity to run multiple projects simultaneously.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition. However you can only submit the same application twice, without a material change.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. Further information about the Subsidy requirements can be found within the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (

Innovate UK is unable to award organisations that are considered to be in financial difficulty. We will conduct financial viability and eligibility tests to confirm this is not the case following the application stage.

EU State aid rules now only apply in limited circumstances. Please see our general guidance to check if these rules apply to your organisation.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the Subsidy Control Act 2022 or the State aid rules, you should take independent legal advice. We are unable to advise on individual eligibility or legal obligations.

You must always make sure that the funding awarded to you is compliant with all current Subsidy Control legislation applicable in the United Kingdom.

This aims to regulate any advantage granted by a public sector body which threatens to, or actually distorts competition in the United Kingdom or any other country or countries.


Up to £10 million has been allocated to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

A minimum of 70% of your project’s total project costs must be incurred by commercial organisations.

The total grant request in your application cannot exceed 50% of the total project costs. This is regardless of the individual partners’ grant claims.

If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance. This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid.

If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them. Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Advanced Propulsion Centre levy

A 3.5% levy is payable to the APC by all partners on grant received.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to develop and realise the demonstration of capability that could lead to further business exploitation, utilising future net zero powertrain technology as a key element in the UK transition to zero emissions for the automotive sector.

Capability demonstration can be through a physical vehicle, a physical sub-system or an equivalent digital demonstrator that can be operated or displayed at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle event in 2024, as a key element of the dissemination requirements.

Once successfully concluded these projects can be used to seed future development programmes in the UK or potentially attract overseas investment into the UK. In addition the projects must contribute to the UK’s strategic aims and direction of travel towards net zero transport vision, such as the Automotive Council’s Roadmaps.

The primary application for technologies developed through this competition should be for the automotive sector but cross sector application is valuable.

Vehicle applications in scope can include on and off road, agriculture, heavy duty, mining and zero emission urban goods delivery vehicles, including 2 wheelers.

Your project must demonstrate the advancement of on-vehicle technologies in one or more of the following areas:

  • energy storage, batteries and their components, management and integration systems
  • fuel cell and associated balance of plant
  • electric machines
  • power electronics

  • fossil fuel free internal combustion, at the point of use, and in the case of on-road solutions we will support project proposals which aim to achieve zero harmful tailpipe emissions
  • hydrogen storage and management systems
  • digitalisation for either vehicle system or subsystem development, design, test and validation
  • lightweight materials and manufacturing for vehicle and powertrain structures

You will be required to provide a close out report and case study at the end of your funded project.

Portfolio approach
We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories. We call this a portfolio approach.

Specific themes

You must consider which technology or technologies best represent your project and rank them in order of their significance and impact to your project. The one ranked first must be the lead technology.

The technologies are:

  • electric machines and power electronics
  • energy storage and energy management
  • lightweight vehicles and powertrain structures
  • fuel cell and associated balance of plant
  • thermal propulsion systems and alternative fuels
  • digitalisation for vehicle system or sub-system development, design, test and validation integration

Your lead technology must be at least 50%. You can also rank up to an additional two supporting technologies that can have a maximum of 25% each.

Your percentages must add up to 100%.

Research categories

We will fund industrial research projects and experimental development projects, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding projects that are:

  • focussed on process or manufacturing
  • focussed on recycling
  • focussed only on the development of clean fuels
  • predominantly off vehicle
  • not aligned with the UK’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution
  • requesting more than 50% grant for total project costs

We cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

17 May 2023
Competition opens
18 May 2023
Virtual briefing event: watch the recording
29 June 2023 11:00am
Competition closes
4 August 2023
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance on applying for a competition on the Innovation Funding Service before you start.

Before submitting, it is the lead applicant’s responsibility to make sure:

  • that all the information provided in the application is correct
  • your proposal meets the eligibility and scope criteria
  • all sections of the application are marked as complete
  • if collaborative, that all partners have completed all assigned sections and accepted the terms and conditions (T&Cs)

You can reopen your application once submitted, up until the competition deadline. You must resubmit the application before the competition deadline.

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

Accessibility and inclusion

We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and are committed to making our application process accessible to everyone. This includes providing support, in the form of reasonable adjustments, for people who have a disability or a long-term condition and face barriers applying to us. Read more on how we are making our application process more accessible and inclusive for everyone.

You must contact us as early as possible in the application process. We recommend contacting us at least 15 working days before the competition closing date to ensure we can provide you with the most suitable support possible.

You can contact us by emailing or calling 0300 321 4357. Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

1. Project details

This section provides background for your application and is not scored.

Application team

Decide which organisations will work with you on your project and invite people from those organisations to help complete the application.

Application details

Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign the right experts to assess your application, as well as conducting a portfolio approach.

You must also identify using percentage splits, which automotive council strategic technology or technologies are the focus of your project, as defined below:

  • electric machines and power electronics
  • energy storage and energy management
  • lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures
  • thermal propulsion systems
  • fuel cell and associated balance of plant
  • digitalisation for vehicle system or sub-system development, design, test and validation integration

Your lead technology must be at least 50%. You can also rank up to an additional two supporting technologies that can have a maximum of 25% each.

Your percentages must add up to 100%.

For example, an innovative motor technology with integrated power electronics and Battery Management Systems (BMS) could be expressed as:

  • electric machines and power electronics (75%)
  • energy storage and energy management (20%)
  • lightweight vehicle and powertrain structures (0%)
  • thermal propulsion systems (5%)
  • Fuel cell and associated balance of plant (0%)
  • significant reduction in vehicle development timescales (0%)
  • digitalisation for vehicle development and design (0%)

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Public description

Describe your project in detail and in a way that you are happy to see published. Do not include any commercially sensitive information. If we award your project funding, we will publish this description. This could happen before you start your project.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.


We expect that the technologies being developed through this competition will already have reached an appropriate level to ensure you are able to deliver an on-vehicle demonstrator by the end of the project.

Applicants should describe how their project aligns to the competition objectives and associated technology themes, providing up to date evidence where possible.

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be eligible for funding.

Your answer can be up to 300 words long.

2. Application questions

The assessors will score all your answers apart from question 1 and 11. You will receive feedback for each scored question. Find out more about how our assessors assess.

You must answer all questions. Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Applicant location (not scored)

You must state the name and full registered address of your organisation and any partners or subcontractors working on your project.

We are collecting this information to understand the geographical location of all applicants.

Question 2. Market opportunities

What market opportunities have been identified and how would these be exploited?


  • the market dynamics
  • the competitive conditions which the project seeks to change or take advantage of
  • the scale of the potential opportunity

Explain, quantify and provide evidence of:

  • the exploitable outputs
  • the potential market size
  • the route to market
  • the commercial benefits

A credible route to market must be identified and you must specify any letters of support you have received.

Explain how this demonstrator will unlock specific market opportunities and accelerate further business growth in manufacturing and the associated supply chain.

You must provide evidence that your project is integral to the business strategy of all project partners and outline the arrangements relating to exploiting the project’s intellectual property rights. If the developed technology has potential applications in other market/sectors, these should also be identified.

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 3. Innovation

What is innovative about your project?

You must clearly identify the extent to which your project is innovative, both commercially and technically.

Describe any new technology your project is seeking to create, develop or improve, comparing this to what is currently available in the market.

Explain how the know-how or intellectual property of the consortia members is likely to develop as a result of the project.

In terms of commercial innovation, explain how existing technology is being applied in a new way and how this will deliver business benefit to the partners. If applicable, describe where any areas of technology transfer should have been specified, for example where technology is migrating across sector boundaries.

Question 4. Technical approach

What technical approach will be adopted?

Provide an overview of the technical approach your project will take, including the main objective of the work. You must also provide a description of the current design and development status.

Describe the structure and content of the technical work packages together with main technical, design and validation and engineering challenges to be addressed.

You can submit one appendix to support your answer. It can include charts, CAD, photographs, schematics or technical data which help to explain. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 5. Project management

How will you ensure effective control and timely delivery of the project?


  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to achieve a successful outcome
  • your proposed work packages, indicating the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your key milestones including the frequency and nature of project reviews
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones
  • the project management reporting lines
  • how will effective project governance be implemented

As the project must start on or before 1 October 2023, project start up is critical, therefore explain your delivery plan to achieve this.

You must submit a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 6. Team

Does the consortium have the skills and experience to deliver the project objectives?


  • the complementary capabilities of your team and any consortium members and the specific know-how or expertise they will contribute
  • your capacity and the capacity of any partners in terms of design, test and development, prototyping and manufacturing activities

  • how any gaps in the team’s capabilities will be addressed, including the use of identified subcontractors where applicable
  • how your organisation and any partners fit into a manufacturing supply chain for the product

If projects are single entity then you need to justify how you have the capability to deliver the project as such and why this is the best solution for the successful delivery of the project.

Question 7. Risk management

What are the risks affecting the project and how will the consortium manage them?


  • the main risks and uncertainties of your project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • the key tools and mechanisms that will be utilised, to provide confidence that effective control will be in place

You are encouraged to avoid understating risk levels, as this may be interpreted as failure to recognise the importance of risk management to the success of the project.

You must submit a risk register as an appendix to support your answer. It must be a PDF, up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8. Project dissemination?

How will the results of the project be disseminated?

How will your project plan to disseminate the results following successful delivery, this can include but is not limited to:

  • new web content
  • customer presentations
  • industry exhibits
  • conferences and seminars
  • written publications

You will need to deliver a demonstrator at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) Show in 2024.

You must provide:

  • a clear description of what will be delivered
  • an accurate description of all aspects of the demonstrator with clear owners
  • information on potential interactions with the LCV attendees
  • details of how potential outputs of the demonstrator can be exploited for example, products or services, processes or applications

List or describe how the potential outputs of this demonstrator project can be exploited, such as: products or services, processes or applications. Be clear how these outputs will be exploited by partners and organisations within the project and beyond, where applicable.

You will be required to provide a close out report and case study at the end of your funded project.

Question 9. Costs

How much will the project cost and how does it represent value for money for the team and the taxpayer?


  • your total project costs
  • the grant you are requesting
  • how each partner will finance their contributions to your project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer
  • how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any subcontractor costs and why they are critical to your project

Question 10. Added value

How will this public funding help you to accelerate or enhance your approach to developing your project towards commercialisation?

You must provide evidence that the funding will increase the total amount that the consortia partners spend on R&D in the UK.


  • the advantages public funding would offer your project, for example, accelerated development
  • what your project might look like without public funding
  • the benefits from involvement of the partners
  • the wider benefits to the UK supply chain and automotive sector

Where applicable, describe and evidence:

  • potential economic and environmental benefits, such as jobs created or safeguarded
  • projected investments
  • growth in sales and profitability and any carbon or air quality savings

Question 11. Marketing and communications project lead (not scored)

You must provide the full name and email address of a marketing and communications contact for the lead partner in your project.

Your answer can be up to 100 words long.

3. Finances

Each organisation in your project must complete their own project costs, organisation details and funding details in the application. Academic institutions must complete and upload a Je-S form.

For full details on what costs you can claim see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) collaborates with UK government, the automotive industry and academia to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies, supporting the transition to deliver net-zero emission vehicles.

Since its foundation in 2013, APC has funded 188 low-carbon projects involving 426 partners, working with companies of all sizes, and has helped to create or safeguard over 50,000 jobs in the UK. The technologies developed in these projects are projected to save over 312 million tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of removing the lifetime emissions from 12.6 million cars.

With its deep sector expertise and cutting-edge knowledge of new propulsion technologies, APC’s role in building and advising project consortia helps projects start more quickly and deliver increased value. In the longer term, its work to drive innovation and encourage collaboration is building the foundations for a successful and sustainable UK automotive industry.

For more information go to or follow us @theapcuk on Twitter and Advanced Propulsion Centre UK on LinkedIn.

APC competitions are formally delivered in partnership between APC, Innovate UK and the Department of Business and Trade.

APC will:

  • work with consortia to support bid development
  • support the competition process, including hosting both launch and guidance events and interviews
  • act as advocates for consortia to improve future competitions
  • support project delivery once contracts are awarded, through APC staff
  • act as a source of guidance for consortia during the critical project start-up phase, and while projects are running, through APC-appointed project delivery leads
  • monitor the impact of the project portfolio

APC can help by:

  • providing general guidance regarding interpretation of competition rules and guidelines on an informal basis
  • helping your consortium to structure the bid development process
  • explaining common pitfalls
  • answering questions regarding whether or not your project is within scope

Innovate UK will:

  • deliver the competition process and technical assessment framework
  • support and manage applicant queries about the competition process
  • issue and manage grant contracts
  • provide formal assurance that projects are meeting their commitments once they are running (known as project monitoring)
  • approve financial claims and issue funds

Department of Business and Trade will:

  • make a recommendation to ministers to support funding if the benefit meets an acceptable level and all other assessment criteria are met
  • formally monitor delivery of economic outputs on an annual basis and after delivery of the project

Any information received by Innovate UK for this competition may be shared with APC and Department of Business and Trade. Innovate UK has a data sharing agreement in place with these bodies which safeguards both personal and commercial data in accordance with data protection legislation.

Extra help

Please note that the APC’s role is to provide indicative guidance rather than formal advice. To contact APC email

Data sharing

This competition is jointly operated by Innovate UK, Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) and the Department for Business and Trade (each an ‘agency’).

Any relevant information submitted and produced during the application process concerning your application can be shared by one agency with the other, for its individual storage, processing and use.

This means that any information given to or generated by Innovate UK in respect of your application may be passed on to APC and the Department for Business and Trade and vice versa. This would include, but is not restricted to:

  • the information stated on the application, including the personal details of all applicants
  • scoring and feedback on the application
  • information received during the management and administration of the grant, such as Monitoring Officer reports and Independent Accountant Reports

Innovate UK, APC and the Department for Business and Trade are directly accountable to you for their holding and processing of your information, including any personal data and confidential information. Data is held in accordance with their own policies. Accordingly, Innovate UK, APC and the Department for Business and Trade will be data controllers for personal data submitted during the application. Innovate UK’s Privacy Policy is accessible here.

Innovate UK complies with the requirements of GDPR, and is committed to upholding the data protection principles, and protecting your information. The Information Commissioner’s Office also has a useful guide for organisations, which outlines the data protection principles.

Find a project partner

If you want help to find a project partner, contact Innovate UK KTN.

Support for SMEs from Innovate UK EDGE

If you receive an award, you will be contacted about working with an innovation and growth specialist at Innovate UK EDGE. This service forms part of our funded offer to you.

These specialists focus on growing innovative businesses and ensuring that projects contribute to their growth. Working one-to-one, they can help you to identify your best strategy and harness world-class resources to grow and achieve scale.

We encourage you to engage with Innovate UK EDGE, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

Next steps

If you are successful with this application, you will be asked to set up your project.

You must follow the unique link embedded in your email notification. This takes you to your IFS Set Up portal, the tool that Innovate UK uses to gather necessary information before we can allow your project to begin.

You will need to provide:

  • the name and contact details of your project manager and project finance lead
  • a redacted copy of your bank details
  • a collaboration agreement where applicable
  • an exploitation plan

In order for us to process your claims, you must make sure you have a valid UK bank account. It is possible that it can take several weeks for a new account to be created. We would recommend starting this process as early as possible to avoid any delays to you project start date.

The bank details you give to us must relate to a UK high street bank that is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). The account must have a BACS clearing facility and be in the same company name as your application.

If you have any doubts that your bank account will not meet Innovate UK's funding criteria, you can use the sort code checker. If you input the sort code and find a tick next to the ‘BACS Direct Credit payments can be sent to this sort code’, this will give you an indication that the bank account you hold is acceptable.

Finance checks

We will carry out checks to make sure you are an established company with access to the funds necessary to complete the project.

You must check your IFS portal regularly and respond to any requests we have sent for additional information to avoid any delays.

Failure to complete project setup may result in your grant offer being withdrawn.

Your Grant offer letter (GOL)

Once you have successfully completed project setup, we will issue your GOL.

The GOL will be made available on your IFS portal. You will need to sign and upload this before you start your project.

Your GOL will show the start date for your project, do not start your project before this date. Any costs incurred before your start date cannot be claimed as part of your grant.

If your application is unsuccessful

If you are unsuccessful with your application this time, you can view feedback from the assessors. This will be available to you on your IFS portal following notification.

Sometimes your application will have scored well, and you will receive positive comments from the assessors. You may be unsuccessful as your average score was not above the funding threshold or your project has not been selected under the portfolio approach if this is applied for this competition.

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply or you want to submit your application in Welsh, email or call 0300 321 4357.
Our phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Need help with this service? Contact us