Funding competition Transitioning towards Zero Emission Vehicles : CR&D

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £7 million, to develop on-vehicle solutions that address challenges associated with the transition to zero emission vehicles. Funding is from Office Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections

Description

The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), (formerly Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV)) are investing up to £17 million in support of solutions that address challenges associated with the uptake of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) in this programme.

The aim of this competition is to fund innovative on-vehicle solutions that support the transition to zero emission vehicles in line with the Government’s transport decarbonisation ambitions.

In this competition, we are looking for solutions that address one or more of the following challenges:

  • improve ZEV range capability
  • increase adoption of small commercial ZEVs
  • support transition to zero emission for special use vehicles
  • improve ZEV user experience
  • improve sustainability of ZEVs

Projects which address these challenges can use new, highly innovative solutions or advance an existing innovation or R&D project.

We are seeking to support both the feasibility and the development of the proposed solutions in two competition strands:

  1. feasibility studies
  2. collaborative research and development (this strand)

A parallel competition hosted on the Innovation Funding Service will address the challenges associated with infrastructure solutions for zero emission vehicles.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure they apply for the correct competition.

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

Grant

Project size

Your project’s total eligible costs must be between £300,000 and £600,000

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs from £300,000 and £600,000
  • start by 1 Aug 2021
  • end by 31 March 2022
  • last up to 8 months

Innovate UK will not approve project extensions beyond 31 March 2022.

You can only claim funding for project costs incurred up to 31 March 2022.

If your project’s total eligible costs fall outside of our eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

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.

Academic institutions and RTOs cannot lead or work alone.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • ·intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Academic institutions must have their research team ready to start at the beginning of the project.

The maximum number of organisations allowed in a consortium in this competition is 3, including the lead. This maximum number includes non-grant claiming partners, but not subcontractors.

For collaborations, the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service 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 the Innovation Funding Service.

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 eligible project costs.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK or European Economic Area (EEA) and must be selected through a participant’s normal procurement process.

If a subcontractor is selected from outside the UK or EEA, a case must be made in question 5 as to why no UK or EEA based subcontractor can be used including a detailed rationale, evidence of UK and EEA companies that have been approached and reasons why they were unable to do so.

We expect subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. A cheaper cost is not deemed as a sufficient reason to use an subcontractor outside of the stated locations.

Subcontractors costs are limited to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium is using more than one subcontractor, this maximum is shared between them.

Number of applications

Any UK registered business, can lead and collaborate in any number of

applications. Should you be successful in multiple projects we would expect you to provide evidence on your capability to fund and manage your projects.

Academic institutions, charities, not-for-profits, public sector organisations and RTOs can collaborate on any number of applications.

Previous applications

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have:

Eligibility overview

Here is a diagram showing a summary of eligibility.

This is a new way of showing you eligibility. Your feedback will help us to improve it.

Subsidy control (and State aid where applicable)

This competition provides funding in line with the UK's obligations and commitments to Subsidy Control. Further information about the UK Subsidy Control requirements can be found within the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation agreement and the subsequent guidance from the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

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.

European Commission State aid

You must apply under European Commission State aid rules if you are an applicant who is conducting activities that will affect trade of goods and electricity between Northern Ireland and the EU as envisaged by Article 10 of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

In certain limited circumstances, the European Commission State aid rules may also apply if you are an organisation located in England, Wales, or Scotland and conduct activities that affect the trade of goods and electricity between Northern Ireland and the EU. For further information, please see section 7 of the BEIS technical guidance.

For further information see our general guidance on state aid and BEIS guidance on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

For applicants subject to the European Commission State aid rules, applicants will be required to prove that they were not an “Undertaking in Difficulty” on the date of 31 December 2019 but became a UID between 1 January 2020 and 30 June 2021. We will ask for evidence of this.

Further Information

If you are unsure about your obligations under the UK Subsidy Control regime or the State aid rules, please take independent legal advice.

You must make sure at all times 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.

If there are any changes to the above requirements that mean we need to change the terms of this competition, we will tell you as soon as possible.

Funding

We have allocated up to £7 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

This competition includes two strands:

  • feasibility studies
  • collaborative R&D (this strand)

For this strand, collaborative R&D, up to £6 million has been allocated. Innovate UK will use a portfolio approach and reserves the right to move some of this funding to the feasibility studies strand.

If your organisation’s work on the project is mostly commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

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

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.

Your proposal

The aim of this competition is to fund innovative on-vehicle solutions that support the transition to zero emission vehicles (ZEV) in line with the Government’s transport decarbonisation ambitions.

Your project must offer a solution that addresses one or more of the challenges associated with increasing the uptake in zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), including:

  • improve ZEV range capability
  • increase adoption of small commercial ZEVs
  • support transition to zero emission for special use vehicles
  • improve ZEV user experience
  • improve sustainability of ZEV

Projects must:

  • develop on-vehicle technologies that deliver zero tailpipe emissions, speeding up their introduction to the market
  • justify how the technology improves overall vehicle efficiency and lifecycle CO2 emissions
  • validate the technology in a relevant environment, for example through a development mule or adapted current production vehicle for higher maturity technologies
  • where applicable, define appropriate representative real-world operating conditions, and a suitable comparator technology or vehicle against which the project will measure the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) baseline and improvements
  • deliver zero emission vehicles technologies at a lower cost than today without compromising their safety or capability
  • provide evidence that the durability, integrity, and safety of any technology proposed is in line with industry and consumer expectations
  • show that you can realistically produce the technology at a price the market is willing to pay when commercialising
  • show how the future supply chain will be developed.
  • consider approach to manufacturing including at the target scale and using advanced approaches
  • show a clear route to market including appropriate business models to exploit the technology commercially
  • show a reduction of the environmental impact of the technology including resource efficiency and end of life options such as recycling, remanufacturing or reuse
  • identify an appropriate end customer(s) or route to commercialisation

Technology transfer projects from other transport or energy sectors are welcome.

Projects can cover both niche and mainstream on-road vehicles under 3.5tonnes in categories L (mopeds and motorcycles only), M (passenger) and N (goods). Special use vehicles such as emergency vehicles (e.g. ambulances and fire engines), refuse collection vehicles, and recreational vehicles (e.g. motorhomes) will also be in scope.

If you are unsure whether your vehicle is included in the special use vehicles category, please contact support@innovateuk.ukri.org with a description of the vehicle.

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories. OZEV and Innovate UK reserve the right to prioritise projects within specific themes where necessary.

Specific themes

Your application must focus on at least one of the following challenges.

You must clearly identify the primary challenge for assessment purposes. Your solution can cover several challenges but will be assessed against the primary challenge selected.

Examples of each challenge are in ‘Supporting information’.

Challenge 1 – Improve ZEV range capability

Advances in zero emission on-vehicle technologies to improve EV range anxiety by enabling increased vehicle range, efficiency or capability.

Challenge 2 – Increase adoption of small commercial ZEVs

Tackling on vehicle technological challenges associated with under 3.5tonne commercial vehicles, including fleets, to improve operational performance or total cost of ownership.

Challenge 3 – Support transition to zero emission for special use vehicles

Technological solutions for special use vehicles, such as emergency vehicles, which are technically challenging but need to make the transition to zero.

Challenge 4 –Improve ZEV user experience

Technologies which improve ZEV user experience by for example improving mobility, road-side recovery or their use in a recreational setting.

Challenge 5 –Improve sustainability of ZEVs

Solutions that enable battery recycling facilities.

Research categories

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

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding:

  • projects that do not respond to one of the 5 specific challenges
  • projects which primarily focus on maritime, rail or aviation sector
  • projects that focus purely on battery development or PEMD supply chain
  • internal combustion engine projects
  • projects which address challenges with hybrid vehicles which include a non- zero emission propulsion
  • personal mobility scooters or similar
  • off-highway lightweight 4x4 or recreational vehicles such as buggies and quads.
  • factory based vehicles, including forklift trucks
  • military vehicles
  • business as usual projects
  • zero carbon fuels or their combustion
  • projects for on-highway and off-highway vehicles category N (> 3.5tonnes) and O (trailers for HGVs), T (agricultural), G (off-road) vehicles
  • projects dependent on export performance
  • projects dependent on domestic inputs usage

12 March 2021
Online briefing event: view recording
15 March 2021
Competition opens
21 April 2021 11:00am
Competition closes
11 June 2021
Applicants notified

Before you start

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

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

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

1. Project details

This section provides background for the assessors and is not scored.

Application team

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

Application details

The lead applicant must complete this section. Give your project’s title, start date and duration.

Research category

Select the type of research you will undertake.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We collect and report on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) data to address under-representation in business innovation and ensure equality, diversity and inclusion across all our activities.

You must complete this EDI survey and then select yes in the application question. The survey will ask you questions on your gender, age, ethnicity and disability status. You will always have the option to ‘prefer not to say’ if you do not feel comfortable sharing this information.

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. 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.

Scope

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

The assessors will score your answers for question 3 to 12. Questions 1 and 2 are not scored. You will receive feedback from them for each scored question.

Do not include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Project partners location (not scored)

Please state the name of each organisation along with its full registered address. If you are working with an academic institution this doesn’t need to be included.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 2. Challenge area (not scored)

Your application must focus on at least one of the challenges set out here.

You must identify the primary challenge for assessment purposes. Your solution can cover several challenges but will be assessed against the primary challenge selected.

Examples of each challenge are provided in ‘Supporting information’.

  • Challenge 1 – Improve ZEV range capability
  • Challenge 2 – Increase adoption of small commercial ZEVs
  • Challenge 3 – Support transition to zero emission for special use vehicles
  • Challenge 4 –Improve ZEV user experience
  • Challenge 5 –Improve sustainability of ZEVs

Question 3. Need or challenge

What is the business need, 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 focuses 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, using our Horizons tool if appropriate

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 4. 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
  • how your project is providing value-add
  • 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
  • in detail the innovation’s impact in respect to zero emission vehicles
  • how this project fits with your current product, service lines or offerings
  • the innovation’s current technology readiness level and where it will be at project completion
  • 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 one appendix. It can include diagrams and charts. It must be a PDF and can be up to 2 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 5. 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, particularly in the light of any continuing COVID-19 restrictions
  • the details of any vital external parties, including subcontractors, who you will need to work with to successfully carry out the project
  • (if your project is collaborative) the current relationships between project partners and how these will change as a result of the project
  • any roles you will need to recruit for taking into account the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on the team structure

You can submit one appendix. This can include a short summary of the main people working on the project to support your answer. It must be a PDF and can be up to 4 A4 pages long and no larger than 10MB in size. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Your answer can be up to 600 words long.

Question 6. 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 route to market could be
  • what the market’s size might to be
  • how your project will try to explore the market’s potential

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 7. 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 they would use or buy your product
  • your route to market, particularly if COVID-19 has changed market dynamics
  • how you are going to profit from the innovation, including increased revenues or cost reduction
  • any direct supply chain development in the UK and any re-shoring of manufacturing
  • 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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 8. Wider impacts

What impact might this project have outside the project team?

Describe, and where possible, measure the economic benefits from the project such as productivity increases and import substitution, to:

  • external parties
  • customers
  • others in the supply chain
  • broader industry
  • the UK economy

Describe, and where possible, measure:

  • 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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 9. Project management

How will you manage the project effectively?

Describe or explain:

  • the main work packages of the project, indicating the lead partner assigned to each and the total cost of each one
  • your approach to project management, identifying any major tools and mechanisms you will use to get 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, taking into account the possible impact of further COVID-19 restrictions

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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 10. 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
  • how you will mitigate these risks
  • 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 you will manage this

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

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 11. Added value

What impact would an injection of public funding have on the businesses involved?

Describe or explain:

  • whether this project could go ahead in any form without public funding and if so, the difference the public funding would make, such as a faster route to market, more partners or 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 research and development activity the partners would undertake, and the related spend

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Question 12. 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?

In terms of the project goals, describe or explain:

  • the total eligible project costs
  • the grant you are requesting
  • how each partner will finance their contributions to the 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 the project

Your answer can be up to 400 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

Investment in R&D is key to the government’s mission of putting the UK at the forefront of the design, manufacture and use of ZEVs. These technologies can help deliver the transport decarbonisation goals and anchor economic activity across the UK.

The Government is going further and faster to decarbonise transport by phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emissions at the tailpipe

Addressing these challenges through innovation, will support delivery of the UK’s ambitious phase out dates and net zero objectives. This list of examples is not intended to be exhaustive.

Challenge 1 – Improve ZEV range capability

  • electric powertrains that deliver higher vehicle range and zero emission capability
  • highly disruptive zero emission technologies that significantly increase the efficiency of the vehicle powertrain or auxiliary systems
  • hydrogen technologies that focus on fuel cell development or the use of hydrogen for the production of electricity
  • advanced power electronics, machines and drives that support higher vehicle range
  • lightweight technologies that significantly reduced weight and hence increase vehicle range

Challenge 2 - Increase adoption of small commercial ZEVs

  • fleet solutions, including service and home delivery, that improve operational performance or total cost of ownership
  • zero emission pick-up trucks and attributable on-vehicle technology

Challenge 3 - Support transition to zero emission for special use vehicles

  • ZEV technologies specific for blue light vehicles, refuse collection vehicles, pickup recovery and low-loaders

Challenge 4 – Improve ZEV user experience

  • technologies which address mobility challenges faced by users with specific accessibility requirements such as disabled drivers
  • innovation addressing road-side recovery for ZEVs such as EV towing
  • innovation which will support second-hand ZEV uptake such as vehicle health monitoring technologies
  • innovative solutions for breaker systems and motors which improve towing of loads e.g. in caravans
  • caravan technologies that help increases the range or capability of ZEVs.
  • zero emission technologies for motorhomes
  • all-terrain ZEV solutions which deliver parity with existing combustion vehicles

Challenge 5 –Improve sustainability of ZEVs

  • solutions that support investment in a battery recycling facility

Contact us

If you need more information about how to apply email support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Innovate UK is committed to making support for applicants accessible to everyone.

We can provide help for applicants who face barriers when making an application. This might be as a result of a disability, neurodiversity or anything else that makes it difficult to use our services. We can also give help and make other reasonable adjustments for you if your application is successful.

If you think you need more support, it is important that you contact our Customer Support Service as early as possible during your application process. You should aim to contact us no later than 10 working days before the competition closing date.

Finding a project partner

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

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 EDGE, delivered by a knowledgeable and objective specialist near you.

Need help with this service? Contact us