The British government has pledged £30m in funding to research in battery technology, the electric vehicle supply chain and hydrogen vehicles.

Of the funding, £9.4m will go towards 22 studies via the Automotive Transformation Fund, facilitating the development of innovative automotive technology. A further commitment of £22.6m is to be allocated to the government-back Faraday Institution, advancing research into battery safety and sustainability.

The announcement of the funding is aligned with the government target to ban all ICE-vehicles by 2030. Research into alternatively fuelled vehicles is a crucial element of this transition.

Minister for investment, Gerry Grimstone, explained the significance of the announcement: “We have set an ambitious target to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.

“To support that it is crucial we invest in research so we can power ahead with the shift to electric vehicles as we build back greener from the pandemic.”

Investment into battery technology will benefit both consumers and companies alike, helping to reduce some of the barriers to widespread adoption, while supporting the creation of new jobs and industries.

Grimstone added: “The world leading research announced today showcases the very best of British innovation and it will support all stages of the automotive supply chain to make the switch to electric vehicles – from developing batteries, to exploring how to recycle them.”

The Automotive Transformation Fund

This latest round of studies funded through the Automotive Transformation Fund includes:

  • Cornish Lithium – Trelavour Hard Rock Lithium Scoping Study in Cornwall: This study will assess the feasibility of developing a sustainable UK supply chain through the construction of an extraction plant producing low-carbon lithium hydroxide from a hard rock source in St Austell.
  • Less Common Metals – New UK Magnet Plant in Cheshire: This study hopes to create a new UK magnet plant producing high-quality lightweight magnets for motors in electric vehicles.
  • Haydale Composites Solutions Ltd – Hydrogen storage for vehicles in Loughborough: This project will assess the suitability of Haydale’s lightweight, low permeability storage tank, which could help to unlock the pathway to hydrogen propulsion.

The Faraday Institution

The Faraday institution will use the funding to investigate three areas: battery safety and the causes of cell failure; solid state batteries, which promise safety improvements; and the recycling and reuse of batteries to boost sustainability of the automotive supply chain.

The Faraday Institution will also examine the use of batteries on the energy grid and for aerospace.

The statement concluded: “The government is committed to advance the UK’s future transport system through its extensive R&D Roadmap and to increase economy-wide R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.”