Funding competition SBRI: electric vehicle charging, sustainable energy solutions

Organisations can apply for funding to develop an integrated and scalable low carbon electric vehicle charging solution. The competition will be run in 2 phases.

This competition is now closed.

Register and apply online

Competition sections


The City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) has a number of off-street electric vehicle (EV) chargers. EV charging technology is improving but still doesn’t offer optimal smart city and smart grid solutions. Edinburgh needs an integrated innovation energy solution that can cater for future mass market potential.

Projects should offer smart grid, storage and generation capabilities, to overcome the current limitations imposed by EV charging infrastructure.

Solutions can include:

  • generating renewable energy that can be used in on-street locations with limited space and public access constraints
  • battery storage capabilities that can draw power from the grid when it is most economical, store excess renewable energy, and draw power from EV batteries
  • smart meter and advanced software models that allow for the two-way flow of energy between the grid and the battery storage system, to take advantage of lower tariffs. Smart grid capabilities should help balance the requirements of the grid

Funding type


Project size

We expect projects to range in size up to total costs of £20,000 per applicant. Projects should last up to 6 months.

Find out if you are eligible to apply

To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • work alone or with others (businesses, research base and third sector)

Projects that we won't fund

In this competition, we are not funding:

  • the installation of smart chargers within the Edinburgh local authority area
  • existing non-integrated research and development (R&D) EV projects

Funding and project details

This is phase 1 of a potential 2 phase competition. A decision to proceed with phase 2 will depend on the outcomes from the first phase. Only successful applicants from phase 1 will be able to take part in phase 2.

The overall programme will be delivered over 2 phases.

Phase 1: R&D contract

A feasibility study resulting in a technical and commercial specification and detailed design package for both on and off-street solutions.

In the first phase, R&D contracts will be awarded to demonstrate the technical feasibility of your proposed solution. In this phase:

  • we have allocated a total of up to £80,000 (including VAT)
  • feasibility study R&D contracts are expected to be in the region of up to £20,000 (including VAT) for each project
  • we expect to fund up to 4 projects for up to 6 months
  • the assessors will consider fair value in making their evaluation
  • as a result of your R&D work you will submit detailed technical, financial and design specifications

Your financial business case should detail the investment required for your solution to be rolled out in phases on a much wider scale.

We welcome bids from organisations that bring together a consortium of sector specialists. Your consortium should work together to provide a solution to the challenge set.

Phase 2: prototype development and testing resulting in installation of the prototype to test functionality.

In this phase:

  • we have allocated a total of up to £200,000 (including VAT)
  • we will award R&D contracts to businesses chosen from the successful phase 1 applicants
  • your project costs are expected to be up to £100,000 (including VAT) for each contract.
  • you will develop a prototype and undertake field-testing

Project types

Your project should focus on:

  1. A technical design specification package for the technology. Include detailed technical specifications and a detailed design package for both on and off-street.
  2. A commercial or financial specification. Specify the full costs, including equipment, installation, civil engineering and District Network Operator connections etc.
  3. Revenue generation. Specify the potential tariffs to cover electrical costs and ongoing maintenance. Outline in detail any income that might be generated by using the battery storage system to manage peak demand with the grid.

R&D methodology and final report. Outline all R&D undertaken. Give evidence that the various technological components create a fully integrated low carbon charging solution. Show that the equipment complies with all UK and European standards, codes of practice and directives.

Competition scope

The aim of this competition is to support the development of an integrated and scalable low carbon EV charging solution.

The solution should incorporate renewable on-site generation, battery storage, bi-directional smart meters and an innovative software system. Each of the technological components should complement one another. This will create a closed-loop, innovative EV charging solution with smart grid, vehicle-to-grid and capacity management capabilities.

It should be possible to scale up this smart charging solution to fit several EV charging units in a small space.

The solution will probably require back-up from the grid when the on-site renewables are not generating. The storage system should be designed to trickle charge overnight, or at times when the tariffs are lower.

There must be a software platform or control system that allows each technological component to interact in an effective and sustainable way.

The charging solution should produce revenue for the council, with the potential to apply this to its entire charging infrastructure. You should also consider schemes for charging tariffs to drivers. This will make the supply and installation of further charge points financially self-sustaining.

Applications must attribute at least 50% of the contract value directly and exclusively to R&D services. R&D can cover exploring solutions and design. It can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service. R&D does not include:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes

4 December 2017
Competition opens
8 January 2018
Briefing event for applicants.
7 February 2018 12:00pm
Registration closes
14 February 2018 12:00pm
Competition closes
30 April 2018
Applicants notified.
31 May 2018
Phase 1 contracts awarded.
31 May 2018
Feedback provided.

Before you start

To apply:

  • the lead applicant must register online. You must complete a separate registration for each proposal submitted
  • read the invitation to tender, which will be available for you to download from our secure site after registration
  • subject to availability, consider attending the briefing event in Edinburgh on 8 January 2018. (This has now taken place. Slides and a Q&A from the event will be added to the Scottish Enterprise website.)
  • complete and upload your online application for phase 1. You must complete a separate application for each proposal

We will not accept late submissions. Your application is confidential.

A panel of experts will assess the quality of your application. We will then choose the best proposals from those that meet the aims of this competition.

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

Guidance for applicants

Background and further information

The Programme for Government announced in August 2017 by the Scottish Government sets out new targets and objectives for both carbon reduction and EVs. These form the cornerstone of economic policy.

The programme aims to maximise the benefits to come from the transition to a low carbon economy. The Scottish climate change target of a 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 means innovative, integrated energy systems that conserve energy and deliver renewable energy will be crucial to lowering carbon emissions.

In terms of EVs, the Programme for Government also sets out 2 key objectives:

1. Significantly expanding the EV charging infrastructure across Scotland's roads.

2. Reducing the need for any new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2032, which is 8 years earlier than the UK government’s goal.

The programme will be critical for creating innovative integrated energy solutions for this new emerging market.

About SBRI competitions

SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector. This can lead to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. SBRI supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services. It does this through the public procurement of R&D. SBRI generates new business opportunities for companies and provides a route to market for their ideas. It also bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early-stage companies.

Further help and information

You can find information on how to enter this competition in the invitation to tender document which is available for download on our secure site after registration.

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

If you have general questions about this or any other competiton, contact the competition helpline on 0300 321 4357 or email us at

Questions on the scope of this competition should be addressed to

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