The UK government is putting £100 million (US$175 million) into a new £200 million investment program, jointly funded by government and business, to speed up the introduction of new low carbon vehicles onto Britain’s roads.
The Low Carbon Vehicle Integrated Delivery Programme will co-ordinate the UK’s low carbon vehicle activity from initial strategic research through collaborative research and development, leading to the production of demonstration vehicles. The Technology Strategy Board will manage the five-year program through its Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform, and it will be guided by an industry-led advisory panel.
The Department for Transport, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Advantage West Midlands and One NorthEast have agreed to invest in the program, while further support will be sought from other Regional Development Agencies and the Devolved Administrations.
A key goal of the program—for which funding will be available from April 2009—is to integrate university and industry research and development activity in order to accelerate the exploitation of more radical approaches to decarbonizing road vehicles. The program will feature:
A strategic program of university-based research targeted towards future technologies for which there are good prospects of commercialization in the long term;
An industry-led advisory panel that will help shape the technological direction and priorities for the program. It will be composed of representatives of leading elements of the UK automotive industry and low carbon vehicle technology developers, as well as relevant academic experts;
Flexible rolling opportunities for industry to seek support for high quality collaborative research and development proposals which take technology through to system or vehicle concept readiness; and
Funding to support trialing and demonstration of particularly innovative lower carbon vehicle options.
Regional funders in the program include One NorthEast and Advantage West Midlands, which is committing up to £30 million (US$52 million).
The launch of the program is the second major initiative of the Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation Platform, which in May announced investment of £23 million (US$40 million) in 16 research, development and demonstration projects, involving 75 business and academic partners. (Earlier post.) The projects, which have a total value including contributions from businesses of £52 million (US$91 million), cover technology areas such as hybrids, lightweighting, energy storage, hydrogen fuel cells, aerodynamics and engine efficiency.