The UK government has announced the four winners of its GBP20 million ($27.8 million) zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) research and development competition, which was launched to identify projects to power up the electric vehicle revolution.
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The Department of Transport announced June 17 that the wining projects included an onboard plug-in device that provides drivers with data on battery health to improve the experience of buying secondhand EVs, and a kinetic battery that will provide a temporary power boost for charging the next generation of ultra-fast EVs at peak times in rural areas.
The other two winning projects were a zero-emission ambulance with a hydrogen range extender designed from the ground up, and a solar-powered refrigeration unit for small commercial vehicles.
The GBP20 million competition fund for innovative ZEV projects was launched in March as part of the British Science Week, with UK-registered businesses invited to apply for a share of up to GBP7 million to develop on-vehicle solutions that support solutions for challenges associated with the transition to ZEVs in line with the government's transport decarbonization objectives.
The UK government has pledged to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2030.
The Department of Transport said that the GBP20 million funding, awarded to 62 promising EV technology innovations, could "unlock some of the biggest barriers to EV ownership by providing groundbreaking solutions to battery health and charging for both urban and rural areas."
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "Ahead of major climate summit COP26 this year, investment in exciting projects such as these is key to making the switch to EVs more attractive for drivers than ever before."
"Not only will they propel us further towards our net-zero ambitions, they will also help harness some of the brightest talent in the UK tech industry, encouraging businesses to become global leaders in EV innovation and creating jobs as we build back better," he added.
Charge points project
The Department of Transport has also launched a project to find an "iconic British design" for public charge points to make them as recognizable as a red post box or a black cab, with the design due to be unveiled at COP26 in Glasgow in November.
It said that charge-points needed to be easy to use, accessible for all and fit alongside existing street infrastructure to support the transition to ZEVs.
Silviya Barrett, from Campaign for Better Transport, said that previous research and development funding from the Office for ZEVz had supported the UK's first solar electric forecourt in Braintree, Essex, with the solar canopy and the multi-megawatt battery storage system providing sustainable and low-cost energy, as well as helping to balance demands on the electricity grid.
"The project hopes to make EV charging as easy as using a petrol station," Barrett said.
There is also a separate project trialing vehicle-to-grid technology, enabling EVs to store and sell energy back to the grid during increased levels of demand.