Transport secretary Grant Shapps

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced the winners of a £20m research and development competition, aiming to back innovations in EV technology.

Among the winning projects are:

  • an onboard plug-in device that provides drivers with data on battery health to improve the experience of buying secondhand EVs;
  • 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;
  • a zero-emission ambulance with a hydrogen range extender designed from the ground up; and
  • the development of a solar-powered refrigeration unit for small commercial vehicles.

Shapps said: “Ahead of major climate summit COP26 this year, investment in exciting projects such as these is key to making the switch to electric vehicles 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.”

Silviya Barrett, from Campaign for Better Transport, said: “This announcement is a welcome step on the road to increasing the take-up of electric vehicles. Innovations like the ones announced today can help stimulate demand and grow British manufacturing in this vital industry.

“Coupled with measures to improve the public transport network and encourage its use, we can start to truly tackle carbon emissions, air pollution and congestion and move towards a greener, fairer recovery.”

The Department for Transport has also launched a project to find an iconic British design for public chargepoints, which aims to make UK chargepoints as recognisable as a red post box or a black cab. The resulting design is set to be unveiled at COP26 in Glasgow this November.