The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) provides funding, support and insight for the development of low carbon and net zero automotive technologies. It aims to support the UK’s transition towards net zero product manufacturing and supply chain in the UK automotive sector.

In this competition round APC is investing up to £25 million. They are looking for collaborative, pre-production research and development (R&D) projects that:

  • support the UK’s long-term capabilities by securing long term R&D investment
  • achieve through the associated supply chain, the design, build and manufacture of zero carbon tailpipe emission vehicles

Projects must look to fulfil both these criteria to ensure the UK meets the future demand of vehicle-makers.

Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs between £5 million and £40 million
  • be a minimum of 50% match funded
  • start by 1 September 2022
  • last between 18 and 42 months
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

APC suggest projects contain a maximum of 6 project partners. (Projects must be collaborative.)

If your project’s total eligible costs or duration falls outside of the eligibility criteria, you must provide justification by email to info@apcuk.co.uk at least 10 working days before the competition closes. The APC will decide whether to approve your request.

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size (academic institutions and research organisations cannot lead projects)
  • have an active registered business base in the UK
  • be a grant recipient
  • involve at least one SME if the lead is not one
  • include in your consortium a vehicle manufacturer or tier 1 supplier who supplies parts directly to an original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
  • collaborate with others

Non-UK registered businesses and research organisations are only eligible to apply for funding if they set up an active UK registered business where the funded project work will be carried out, and provide evidence of an intention to expand their R&D activity in the UK during and after the project.

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition. Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process. You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK (cheaper cost alone is not sufficient).

A minimum of 70% of your projects total eligible project costs must be incurred by commercial organisations.

The total grant request in your application cannot exceed 50% of the total eligible project costs. This is regardless of the individual partners’ grant claims.

A 3.5% levy is payable to the APC by all partners on grant received.

The aim of this competition is to seek proposals for collaborative R&D projects that design, develop and manufacture zero emission on-vehicle technologies for on-road or off-road vehicles.

Scope

Your project must:

  • support growth and security of the UK’s supply chain, increasing capability, whilst improving productivity, efficiency and competitiveness
  • deliver vehicle technologies and associated manufacturing processes which support the transition to net zero
  • contribute to the UK’s strategic aims in this area, such as the Automotive Council’s Roadmaps

Your project must advance technologies in one or more of the following areas:

  • battery cell components or systems
  • fuel cell and associated balance of plant
  • electric machines and power electronics
  • fossil-free fuel internal combustion
  • hydrogen storage and management systems
  • recycling or recovering materials from any of the above
  • digitalisation leveraged during the development, production or in-service phases

APC are not funding projects that are focussed only on the development of clean fuels.

The economic benefit of your project will be assessed on criteria including but not limited to:

  • scale and impact on the UK economy
  • foreign investment anchored in the UK
  • jobs created or safeguarded
  • upskilling of workforce
  • lifetime environmental impact of the vehicle

Your proposal must evidence:

  • a clear route to market exploitation, including IP generated for the UK
  • a credible consortium led approach to the project, agreed in principle and able to proceed to a formal collaborative agreement
  • what would happen should the project not be funded

Projects will be encouraged to disseminate their results to bring benefit to the wider UK automotive industry.

A competition briefing event is planned to be held in Coventry on 12th January 2022: details will appear here when available.

If you would like help to find a project partner, contact Simon Buckley, KTM for Zero Emission Mobility.