Accelerating the journey to net zero emissions in Britain

The Advanced Propulsion Centre has invested £43.7m into projects that are paving the way to net zero emissions in Britain.

On 17 June 2022, the journey to net zero emissions in Britain was given a significant boost as 21 projects obtained a total of £43.7m funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). This support will significantly advance projects leading the global struggle to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Building on the UK government’s pledge to ‘levelling up’ and driving green economic development, it is hoped that the collective investments through the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) and the 19th Collaborative Research and Development competition (APC19) will result in the creation of thousands of highly-skilled, green jobs and eradicate millions of tonnes of dangerous emissions from the environment.

Funding the transition to net zero emissions in Britain

The projects that have been awarded funding include:

Project ZEN (Zero Emission Norton)

£17.2m total project investment (£8.5m funding through APC)

Project ZEN will advance progress towards electrification of two-wheels, boosting workforce skills, local employment, and a viable UK supply chain. Through the combination of battery, motor, and chassis, along with vast composite materials for a lightweight solution, this groundbreaking motorcycle will concurrently provide race performance and touring range.

Robert Hentschel, CEO of Norton Motorcycles commented: “Over the last year and a half, we have invested in rebuilding Norton to its innovative, challenging, and pioneering heyday. That spirit of innovation will ensure our future electric models provide riders with unparalleled performance that closes the gap between ICE and EV motorcycles by making them comparable in every respect.

“But we want to lead, not follow and by assembling this team of partners that share our pioneering spirit, we will expand Norton’s capability while gaining knowledge and experience to produce industry-leading electric motorcycles that are designed and manufactured in the UK.”

OX Delivers CLEAN (Clean Logistics for Emerging African Nations), Warwickshire

£17.1m total project investment (£8.5m funding through APC)

OX will enhance its electric OX truck for utilisation in its pay-as-you-go transport business model, which is presently operational in Rwanda. With this funding, it will create energy dense, economical and long-life batteries, as well as electronic drive units and a lightweight structure appropriate for tough off-road conditions.

Simon Davis, Managing Director at OX Delivers, explained: “Developing a truck for pay-as-you-go service requires a completely different approach compared to a traditional vehicle. The Advanced Propulsion Centre have been brilliant champions of OX Delivers as we progressed our first electric truck.

“As a UK business we are delighted to be awarded further support to work in partnership with large and small-scale businesses and lead the decarbonisation of emerging market transport using the latest Industry 4.0 technology and UK EV expertise. This award reinforces OX’s game-changing vision for emerging markets and is more exciting momentum for our innovative and dynamic automotive start-up.”

These two late-stage research and development projects will protect or generate hundreds of highly-skilled jobs and are likely to save 27.6 million tonnes of CO₂, which is comparable to eliminating the lifetime emissions of approximately 1.1 million cars.

ATF Feasibility Study Round 3

£9.4m total project investment (£6.3m funding through APC)

A further 19 feasibility studies – involving 23 companies – will obtain funding from the government’s Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) to either demonstrate or augment the business case for rapid scale-up of UK manufacturing in areas, including battery anode and cathode production, fuel cell stack assembly and the viability of UK-sourced critical materials necessary for green technology, such as lithium extraction and graphite refining. The projects are geographically diverse, covering the North East and North West of England, West Midlands and East of England, London and the South East, the South West, Wales, and Scotland.

Additional information on these projects can be found on the Advanced Propulsion Centre website.

Ensuring green economic development in the UK

Minister for Investment, Lord Grimstone said: “Ensuring the continued success of the UK auto industry is central to growing the economy that will ultimately help ensure jobs and economic opportunities are created throughout the country.

“By investing in projects, such as electric motorcycles, to develop the latest clean auto tech or to investigate the potential for further growth in UK electric vehicle manufacturing, we are not only keeping the UK at the forefront of this vital sector, but also securing potentially thousands of highly-skilled jobs for the future.”

Transforming the electric vehicle supply chain

Ian Constance, Chief Executive at the APC concluded: “The projects receiving today’s investment highlight the breadth of technologies needed to help the UK accelerate to net zero emissions. They are reimagining not just vehicles, but the entire automotive supply chain.

“From the performance and speed needed to develop an all-electric superbike to the power and resilience needed to drive an off-road vehicle over some of the world’s toughest terrains, this investment in late-stage R&D will support two projects to make a global economic and environmental impact, all radiating from a UK manufacturing base.

“But to fully decarbonise the automotive sector we also need to transition the EV supply chain. The 19 feasibility studies getting funding today offer solid commercial exploration of opportunities for the UK to rapidly grow manufacturing in some of the most globally advanced and in-demand vehicle technologies, leading to highly-skilled jobs and green growth.”

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