£10m prize for electric car battery innovation

The UK Government is putting £10m towards innovation in battery design to fund the development of a new high-voltage battery pack for the next generation of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs).

Innovate UK will run the competition, which will award the money to a “consortium of organisations”, expected to include a research organisation and at least one vehicle manufacturer as well as experts in battery controls, electronics and software.

Announcing the investment in a speech in Bristol on Friday, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “The challenge is to draw on the UK’s world-class scientific research and develop a battery which is at the cutting edge of innovation, commercially viable and ready to be put into production.

“The competition will be open to all UK research establishments, working together with vehicle manufacturers based over here in the UK.”

The competition will open for bids in April, with a winner announced in the summer. The funding is designed to support the first 12-18 months of development of a commercially-viable battery pack that is ready for production and integration into cars and other road vehicles.

Go Ultra Low

Most new electric vehicles have a range of around 100 miles. Increasing this range would undoubtedly boost the ULEV market. Sales of plug-in cars have since increased from 3,586 in 2013 to 14,498 in 2014. There are now more than 20 plug-in models available to buy compared with just six in 2011, with each of the 10 best-selling brands in the UK now having a ULEV in its range.

The Government aims for ULEVs to account for every new vehicle on the road by 2040. As such, it will invest £500m between 2015 and 2020 to boost the ultra-low emission vehicle industry even further and help drivers ‘both afford and feel confident using electric cars’.

Last week, edie reported that Audi, Mitsubishi and Volkswagen signed up to the Government’s Go Ultra Low campaign, which aims to increase the take-up of ‘plug-in’ cars and vans. The three carmakers join existing campaign members BMW, Nissan, Renault and Toyota.

edie staff

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