Funding competition Electric vehicle charging for public spaces: feasibility studies

UK business can apply for innovation grants to design, develop and deploy innovative electric vehicle charging infrastructure in public areas.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections


The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK, as part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest up to £20 million across a 2-phase competition. This is for innovation projects to develop business cases and deploy new approaches to electric vehicle (EV) charging.

This funding is split into 2 phases:

  1. Phase 1 is feasibility studies.
  2. Phase 2 is demonstrators.

Only successful feasibility studies projects can apply for the later demonstrators phase. This competition is to secure funding for phase 1 projects only. There will be a separate application process for phase 2 funding, which is expected to start in February 2019 and end by 3 April 2019. It will only be open to successful applicants from phase 1.

Projects must be collaborative and business-led. We expect to see collaborators from across the value chain: including infrastructure providers, local authorities, urban planners or designers, energy providers and hardware manufacturers

If your project’s total costs or duration fall outside of our eligibility criteria, email us at least 10 days before the competition closes.

We are running a similar competition at the same time as this one, which supports wireless EV charging for commercial users.

Funding type


Project size

Total costs for your phase 1 feasibility study should be between £75,000 and £120,000. Projects must start by 1 January 2019, end by 31 March 2019, and can last up to 3 months.

Who can apply

To be eligible for funding you must:

  • be a UK based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your project work in the UK, unless a strong case is made to do otherwise
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
  • work in collaboration with other businesses, research organisations or third-sector organisations

Costs of any overseas work or for any overseas parties are not funded through this competition.

Projects must be business led.

We encourage you to include the relevant local authorities and councils on your project team. When necessary, you must have or be seeking planning permissions and approvals to carry out infrastructural work.

Projects may include non-grant-receiving partners (for example, non-UK businesses). Their costs will count towards the total project costs but they will not count as collaborators. There must be at least 2 grant-claiming partners.

If you are successful in this phase you can make changes to your project team before applying to phase 2.

Phase 2 demonstrator projects’ total costs can be between £5 million and £10 million. Projects must start by 1 September 2019, end by 28 February 2021, and can last up to 18 months.


A total of up to £20 million is being invested to fund innovation projects in this 2-phase competition.

The total funding we are providing is:

  • up to £750,000 for phase 1 feasibility studies
  • up to £19.25 million for phase 2 demonstrators

The funders reserve the right to move funds between the phases. This depends on the quality of applications received and the balance of projects across the 2 phases.

The research organisations in your consortium can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation, this maximum will be shared between them.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to deliver creative new designs and technology for low-cost, scalable charging solutions for electric vehicle owners and users without off street parking.

The solutions must be convenient to users and designed appropriately for the proposed location. They can range from on street infrastructure to local charging hubs. Your proposal must demonstrate commercially feasible business models and solutions.

  1. In this phase 1 competition your proposal must be for a feasibility study to analyse electric vehicle charging infrastructure placement, costs, use cases and viable business models.
  2. If you are successful in this competition you will be able to apply to phase 2 to create large scale infrastructure and technology demonstrators in public areas. Trials need to be statistically relevant, and last up to 12 months. Projects must consider what happens to the infrastructure after the trials and you can claim funding for the cost of decommissioning.

Your phase 1 and phase 2 projects must be based around a demonstration of business models and solutions that:

  • are suitable for investment
  • provide local authorities with new options they can be confident in
  • encourage electric vehicle take up in the area and maximise improvements in local air quality
  • provide great experiences for end users, both private and public, such as street cleaning or delivery drivers

Your project must include attention to, or a study of, social and behavioural aspects of the proposal. It must be:

  • inclusive to all users in the location
  • sensitive to issues around accessibility
  • avoid monopolising existing parking infrastructure
  • give consideration to whether the location is appropriate, especially conservation areas, flood plains and other special factors

We are particularly encouraging applications that:

  • can be used in different streets and locations
  • provide infrastructure that is well designed, and makes efficient use of street space by combining with existing street furniture for example
  • favour interoperability with charging providers
  • are resilient and as future proof as possible
  • minimise road disruption
  • consider potential wider uses such as traffic movements or crime prevention
  • give thought to local energy assets such as energy storage, grid balancing, energy trading and smart charging
  • consider infrastructure with multiple use cases when not in use for charging

We reserve the right to use a portfolio approach to ensure that we achieve a balance of projects across this and the wireless EV charging for commercial users competition being run in parallel. The portfolio will be spread across a range of:

  • scope areas
  • categories of research and development
  • project durations
  • project costs, including demonstrating value for money

This is to fit the spend profile of the competition. It will make sure that funds are allocated across the strategic areas identified in the scope of the competition. Successful applications are all required to meet a quality threshold.

We expect all funded projects to share best practice and findings, and engage in public and stakeholder dissemination activities. Demonstrator projects will also be required to provide further information about vehicle use patterns and performance.

Data collection

The collection and pooling of data from the demonstrator trials is vital to gaining an understanding of the benefits of EV Charging infrastructure and user acceptance as part of the Phase 2 projects.

A high level summary of the data we will be collecting is provided in the data collection table.

We will appoint an independent third party organisation to define a common format for data deemed of value. Data will be anonymised for analysis and publication at the end of the project.

Phase 2 funding will be conditional on trial projects collecting and reporting vehicle data monthly throughout the trial for at least 85% of operation.

Project types

In this phase, for feasibility studies, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

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

Research and technology organisations can receive 100% of their eligible project costs. Universities can receive 80% of full economic cost. In any project, a maximum of 30% of total eligible project costs can be spent by the research organisations involved.

In phase 2, for industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

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

Find out if your business fits the EU definition of an SME.

Projects we will not fund

We will not fund projects that cover:

  • development of hardware on-board vehicles as a primary focus
  • whilst technological design and application will be funded, we are not looking for fundamental technology development
  • solutions targeting home charge point sharing
  • replication of solutions already trialled and tested
  • solutions that take away from pedestrian spaces, or cause problems for members of the public with accessibility issues

9 July 2018
Competition opens
10 July 2018
London briefing recording.
12 July 2018
Manchester briefing event.
29 August 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
5 October 2018 8:42am
Applicants notified
1 January 2019
Phase 1 projects start.
4 February 2019
Phase 2 opens.
31 March 2019
Phase 1 projects end.
3 April 2019
Phase 2 application deadline.
1 September 2019
Phase 2 projects start.
28 February 2021
Phase 2 projects end.

Before you start

Please read the general guidance for applicants. It will help your chances of submitting a quality application.

When you start an application you will be prompted to create an account as the lead applicant or sign in as a representative of your organisation. You will need an account to track the progress of your application.

As the lead applicant you will be responsible for:

  • collecting the information for your application
  • representing your organisation in leading the project if your application is successful

You will be able to invite:

  • colleagues to contribute to the application
  • other organisations to collaborate in the project if your application is successful

Collaborating organisations can be other businesses, research organisations, public sector organisations or charities.

What we will ask you

The application is split into 2 sections:

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

1. Application details

Explain your project. This section is not scored, but we will use it to decide whether the project fits with the scope of the competition. If it does not, it will be immediately rejected.

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration. List any organisations you have named as collaborators.

Project summary

Describe your project briefly, and be clear about what makes it innovative. We use this section to assign experts to assess your application. 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. Please 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.


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 400 words long.

2. Application questions

Your answers to these questions will be scored by the assessors. You will receive feedback from the assessors for each question.

Your answer to each question can be up to 400 words long. Do not include any URLs in your answers unless we have explicitly requested a link to a video.

Question 1: Need or challenge

What is the business need, citizen challenge, technological challenge or market opportunity behind your innovation?

Describe or explain:

  • the main motivation for the project
  • the business need, technological challenge or market opportunity
  • the nearest current state-of-the-art, including those near market or in development, and its limitations
  • any work you have already done to respond to this need, for example if the project is focused on developing an existing capability or building a new one
  • the wider economic, social, environmental, cultural or political challenges which are influential in creating the opportunity, such as incoming regulations. Our Horizons tool can help with this


Question 2: Approach and innovation

What approach will you take and where will the focus of the innovation be?

Describe or explain:

  • how you will respond to the need, challenge or opportunity identified
  • how you will improve on the nearest current state-of-the-art identified
  • whether the innovation will focus on the application of existing technologies in new areas, the development of new technologies for existing areas or a totally disruptive approach
  • the freedom you have to operate
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • how it will make you more competitive
  • the nature of the outputs you expect from the project (for example, report, demonstrator, know-how, new process, product or service design) and how these will help you to target the need, challenge or opportunity identified

You can submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 3: Team and resources

Who is in the project team and what are their roles?

Describe or explain:

  • the roles, skills and experience of all members of the project team that are relevant to the approach you will be taking
  • the resources, equipment and facilities needed for the project and how you will access them
  • the details of any vital external parties, including sub-contractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any gaps in the team that will need to be filled

You can submit a single appendix as a PDF no larger than 1MB and up to 4 pages long to support your answer. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 4: Market awareness

What does the market you are targeting look like?

Describe or explain:

  • the markets (domestic, international or both) you will be targeting in the project and any other potential markets
  • the size of the target markets for the project outcomes, backed up by references where available
  • the structure and dynamics of the target markets, including customer segmentation, together with predicted growth rates within clear timeframes
  • the target markets’ main supply or value chains and business models, and any barriers to entry that exist
  • the current UK position in targeting these markets
  • the size and main features of any other markets not already listed

If your project is highly innovative, where the market may be unexplored, describe or explain:

  • what the market’s size might to be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Question 5: Outcomes and route to market

How are you going to grow your business and increase your productivity into the long term as a result of the project?

Describe or explain:

  • your current position in the markets and supply or value chains outlined, and whether you will be extending or establishing your market position
  • your target customers or end users, and the value to them, for example, why would they use or buy it?
  • your route to market
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation (increased revenues or cost reduction)
  • how the innovation will affect your productivity and growth, in both the short and the long term
  • how you will protect and exploit the outputs of the project, for example through know-how, patenting, designs or changes to your business model
  • your strategy for targeting the other markets you have identified during or after the project

If there is any research organisation activity in the project, describe:

  • your plans to spread the project’s research outputs over a reasonable timescale
  • how you expect to use the results generated from the project in further research activities

Question 6: Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe, and where possible measure:

  • the economic benefits from the project to external parties, including customers, others in the supply chain, broader industry and the UK economy, such as productivity increases and import substitution
  • any expected impact on government priorities
  • any expected environmental impacts, either positive or negative
  • any expected regional impacts of the project

Describe any expected social impacts, either positive or negative on, for example:

  • quality of life
  • social inclusion or exclusion
  • jobs, such as safeguarding, creating, changing or displacing them
  • education
  • public empowerment
  • health and safety
  • regulations
  • diversity

Question 7: Project management

Describe or explain:

  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the relevant research category, the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms that will be used for a successful and innovative project outcome.
  • the management reporting lines
  • your project plan in enough detail to identify any links or dependencies between work packages or milestones

You can upload a project plan or Gantt chart as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 8: Risks

What are the main risks for this project?

Describe or explain:

  • the main risks and uncertainties of the project, including the technical, commercial, managerial and environmental risks, providing a risk register if appropriate
  • how these risks will be mitigated
  • any project inputs that are critical to completion, such as resources, expertise, data sets
  • any output likely to be subject to regulatory requirements, certification, ethical issues and so on, and how will you manage this?

You can upload a risk register as an appendix in PDF format no larger than 1MB and up to 2 pages long. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 9: Added value

Describe the impact that an injection of public funding would have on this project.

Describe or explain:

  • if this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make, such as faster to market, more partners and reduced risk
  • the likely impact of the project on the businesses of the partners involved
  • why you are not able to wholly fund the project from your own resources or other forms of private-sector funding, and what would happen if the application is unsuccessful
  • how this project would change the nature of R&D activity the partners would undertake, and the related spend

Question 10: Costs and value for money

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

Describe or explain:

  • the total project cost and the grant being requested in terms of the project goals
  • how the partners will finance their contributions to the project
  • how this project represents value for money for you and the taxpayer and how it compares to what you would spend your money on otherwise?
  • the balance of costs and grant across the project partners
  • any sub-contractor costs and why they are critical to the project

3. Finances

The finances section asks each organisation in your project to complete their own project costs, organisational details and funding details. Academics will need to complete and upload a Je-S form. For full details on what costs you can claim please see our project costs guidance.

Background and further information

The government wants to increase the take-up of electric vehicles (EVs). It is committed to making nearly all cars and vans zero-emission by 2050. The government also wants to make sure that people and businesses have access to safe and convenient charging infrastructure.

As the number of electric vehicles on UK roads increases, infrastructure needs to be deployed to support their operations in a variety of ways. The UK’s charging infrastructure needs to be:

  • widespread
  • accessible
  • focused on needs of users

For drivers without off-street parking, there is a need for reliable and widely available charging networks to compensate the lack of availability of home charging facilities. Such a network needs to be integrated into the urban space, and fair to all road users.

This and the wireless EV charging for commercial users competition being run in parallel are both designed to speed up existing work in the EV charging infrastructure field. They will give electric vehicle drivers more options in how they charge.

In May 2018 Innovate UK and OLEV ran 3 scoping workshops around the UK in collaboration with the Knowledge Transfer Network. These 2 competitions have been informed by more than 1,500 contributions from the workshops’ 289 industry and academic attendees.

OLEV is investing over £900 million to position the UK at the global forefront of ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) development, manufacture and use. This will contribute to economic growth and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution on our roads.

Extra help

If you want help to find a project collaborator, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

If you need more information, call the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at

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