Funding competition Infrastructure solutions for zero emission vehicles

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £10million to develop infrastructure solutions that address challenges associated with the transition to zero emission vehicles. Funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).

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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 in this programme.

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

This competition seeks to support feasibility studies and research and development projects that address one or more of the following infrastructure challenges:

  • improve public residential charging in urban areas
  • improve rural charging
  • improving fleet charging solutions
  • enhance the ZEV user charging experience

Parallel competition strands hosted on the Innovation Funding Service address the on-vehicle challenges associated with the uptake of ZEVs:

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 £800,000.

Who can apply

Your project

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £300,000, and £800,000
  • start by 1 August 2021
  • end by 31 March 2022

We 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 your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered businesses, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation, research organisations, or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • 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.


Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation, research organisations, 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 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 and must be selected through a participant’s normal procurement process. Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK or European Economic Area (EEA).

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 all subcontractor costs to be justified and appropriate to the total eligible project costs. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

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

A business can only lead on one application but can be included as a collaborator in a further 2 applications.

If a business is not leading any application, it can collaborate in up to 3 applications.

Academic institutions, charities, not-for-profit, public sector organisations, research organisations, and RTO’s 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:

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 £10million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

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 feasibility studies and 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

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 infrastructure solutions, that support the transition to zero emission vehicles (ZEV), in line with the Government’s transport decarbonisation ambitions.

This competition seeks to support feasibility studies and research and development projects addressing one or more of the ZEV infrastructure challenges listed in the specific themes.

Projects must:

  • develop infrastructure solutions which can be deployed at scale within 5 years
  • develop sustainable infrastructure solutions for ZEV at low cost without compromising safety or capability
  • show a clear route to market including end users and appropriate business models to exploit the technology commercially
  • 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 advanced approaches to manufacturing at the target scale
  • deliver a clear plan to trial the solution in an appropriate setting at a later date, including location plans, use cases, resources and planning considerations
  • deliver a final report summarising the project’s achievements
  • deliver appropriate dissemination activities

Projects may include end users or infrastructure owners, such as local authorities and fleet operators (public and private), and stakeholders such as distribution network operators (DNOs), infrastructure providers, energy providers, hardware and software providers.

Projects can cover infrastructure solutions for both niche and mainstream on-road vehicles under 3.5 tonnes in categories L (mopeds and motorcycles only), M (passenger) and N (goods).

Infrastructure solutions for special use vehicles such as emergency vehicles, (e.g., ambulances, 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, please contact support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 10 working days before the competition closing date.

We want to fund a portfolio of projects, across a variety of ZEV use cases, infrastructure 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 infrastructure 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 for each infrastructure challenge are in ‘Supporting Information’.

Challenge 1 – Improve public residential charging in urban areas

Solutions which target ZEV infrastructure needs close to home for the high proportion of urban residents without access to off-street parking e.g. tower blocks and terraced houses.

Challenge 2 – Improve rural charging

Tackling the energy and communication infrastructure barriers in rural areas which affect residents’ adoption and visitors’ use of ZEV in remote locations or recreational sites.

Challenge 3 – Improving fleet charging solutions

Supporting the adoption of ZEV in fleets of cars and vans with different user requirements, infrastructure constraints and opportunities. Use-cases such as delivery services, home services, emergency services and passenger transport etc are all in scope for this challenge.

Challenge 4 – Enhance the ZEV user infrastructure experience

Improving ZEV mobility by making infrastructure solutions easier to use, including accessibility for disabled or elderly users, availability and payment mechanisms.

Research categories

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

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding:

  • projects which do not address at least one of the four ZEV infrastructure challenges
  • projects that develop vehicle-based technology
  • projects which address charging of personal mobility scooters or similar, off-highway lightweight 4x4 or recreational vehicles such as buggies and quads
  • projects which provide maritime, aviation or rail sector solutions
  • charging of factory-based vehicles i.e. forklift trucks
  • business as usual projects
  • charging of on-highway and off-highway vehicles in categories N (> 3.5tonnes), O (trailers for HGVs), T (agricultural), G (off-road) vehicles will be out of scope
  • projects that are dependent on export performance
  • projects that are 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 11. 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 selected primary one.

Examples of each challenge are in ‘Supporting information’.

Challenge 1 – Improve public residential charging in urban areas

Solutions which target ZEV infrastructure needs close to home for the high proportion of urban residents without access to off-street parking e.g. tower blocks and terraced houses.

Challenge 2 – Improve rural charging

Tackling the energy and communications infrastructure constraints to charging in rural areas of the UK, which affect residents’ adoption and visitors’ use of ZEV.

Challenge 3 – Improving fleet charging solutions

Supporting the adoption of ZEV in fleets of cars and vans with different user requirements, infrastructure constraints and opportunities. Use-cases such as delivery services, home services, emergency services and passenger transport etc are all in scope for this challenge. .

Challenge 4 – Enhance the ZEV user charging experience

Improving ZEV mobility by making infrastructure solutions easier to use, including accessibility for disabled or elderly users, availability and payment mechanisms.

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
  • 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, providing a risk register
  • 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 government’s transport decarbonisation goals and anchor economic activity across the UK.

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 ambitious phase out dates and net zero objectives. The list of examples is not intended to be exhaustive.

Challenge 1 – Improve public residential charging in urban areas

  • on-street charging solutions
  • off-street public charging solutions
  • mobile charging solutions
  • community charging opportunities
  • local energy supply and management
  • space saving solutions

Challenge 2 – Improve Rural charging

  • local energy supply and management
  • robust communications solutions
  • community charging opportunities
  • innovative business models

Challenge 3 – Improving Fleet charging solutions

  • local energy supply and management
  • charging management systems
  • space saving solutions
  • innovative charging business models to accelerate fleet ZEV adoption
  • innovative ZEV fleet management tools which could provide cost savings or generate revenue
  • using public chargers when required

Challenge 4 – Enhance the ZEV user charging experience

  • accessibility for disabled or elderly users
  • access tools and interoperability
  • user support services
  • management of charger availability
  • ease and safety of use
  • payment mechanisms

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