Department for Transport
Printable version E-mail this to a friend

Electric dreams move a step closer to reality

Electric dreams move a step closer to reality

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 16 September 2010

Mass market electric cars moved a step closer today as Transport Secretary Philip Hammond awarded £24 million to further develop the UK's low carbon vehicle capability.

The six winning projects - which together with contributions from business will receive total funding of £52m - are part of the latest Technology Strategy Board competition. Projects include the development of new engines for plug-in hybrid versions of Nissan, Lotus and Jaguar Land Rover cars, a lightweight electric bin wagon, development of lightweight materials for vehicle weight reduction, and new technologies using thermal energy to improve vehicle performance.

The Government also set out the eligibility criteria for its Plug-in Car Grant. Under the scheme motorists will receive a grant of up to £5,000 to purchase electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen fuelled cars. In order to be eligible, cars must meet appropriate safety standards and must have been crash tested. They must also meet minimum range and performance criteria.

The Government believes that this combined support will place the UK at the forefront of low carbon automotive development and provide a vital economic boost for the UK economy by giving us a key competitive advantage in this increasingly important global market.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said:

“I am determined to make this Government the greenest ever and transport will have a key role to play. But this will not be achieved by forcing people off the road – it’s not the car that’s the problem, it's the carbon.

"While I am convinced that rail will be the future of long distance inter-urban journeys, we can't ignore the fact that 84% of journeys are made by car and there is no realistic prospect of displacing the private car for point to point complex journeys.

"However, we are on the brink of a technological revolution that will transform the way we see motoring in the 21st century allowing the benefits that the private car delivers without destroying the planet in the process."

In line with the Coalition Agreement commitment to mandate a national recharging network, guidance has also been released to the 15 places interested in bidding for the second round of the Plugged-In-Places infrastructure programme. This sets out in more detail what we want from these projects to support our decision-making on a national recharging network.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

“The winning consortia are all exciting examples of the breadth and depth of the UK’s technical capabilities in low carbon vehicles.

"Collaboration between UK-based vehicle manufacturers, supply chain companies and academia will help Britain become one of the leading centres for the design, development and manufacture of ultra-low carbon vehicles.

"All of these projects had to demonstrate a credible route to market. This is about real business opportunities and high-tech jobs being created from the move to a low carbon economy.”

Notes to Editors

1. OLEV is a cross-Government team, bringing together existing policy and funding streams to drive and streamline policy delivery. It incorporates policies, people and funding from DfT, BIS and DECC.

2. The level of the Plug-In-Car Grant has been agreed until 31 March 2012. The level will be reviewed in January 2012. After taking into consideration a number of key factors such as the costs of vehicles and the development of the early market, the level will then be set for subsequent years. £43m has been made available up to the end of March 2012. The final budget beyond 2011/12 will be confirmed at the spending review.

3. The Plug-In Car Grant will require compliance with 8 eligibility criteria:

· Vehicle Type: New cars only (‘M1’ category vehicles, this includes pre-registration conversions) i.e. excluding motorcycles, quadricycles and vans.

· Carbon Dioxide tailpipe emissions: Less than 75g/km

· Range: EVs minimum 70 miles, PHEVs minimum electric range 10 miles.

· Minimum top speed: 60mph.

· Warranty: 3 year or 60,000 miles vehicle warranty, plus, a 3 year battery and electric drive train warranty with a consumer option for a 2 year battery warranty extension.

· Battery performance: Either a minimum 5 year warranty on the battery and electric drive train as standard OR additional evidence of battery performance to illustrate reasonable performance after 3 years of use.

· Electrical Safety: Vehicles must comply with UN- ECE Reg100.00 (PHEVs will be required to show they have met the technical requirements of 01 series amendments to UN- ECE Reg 100); vehicle manufacturers will be required to identify risks associated with vehicle use and state mitigating actions.

· Veh icle crash safety: European Commission whole vehicle type approval (EC WVTA, not small series) OR evidence that the car demonstrates appropriate levels of safety as judged by international standards.

4. Full details of these eligibility criteria will be published shortly at

5. Consumers wishing to purchase cars under the Plug-In Car Grant can do so via eligible vehicle dealerships from January 2011, consumer should not apply directly to OLEV.

6. To date £8.8m has been awarded to London, Milton Keynes and the North East through the Plugged-In Places Programme. We plan to hold a second round of bidding in the autumn. The amount of funding available for the second round of Plugged-In Places will be determined as part of the spending review.

7. The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government. Its role is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life. It is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). For more information please visit

8. The winning projects are part of the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform (launched September 2007) which delivers the Government’s R&D funding on low carbon vehicles. With initial funding from the Technology Strategy Board, Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the platform aims to promote low carbon vehicle research, design, development and demonstration in the UK.

The six successful projects are:

· Hybrid Integrated Urban Commercial Vehicle

Consortium members

Dennis Eagle Ltd (lead company), MIRA Ltd, Magnomatics Ltd, MTL Group Ltd

Project Description

The Hybrid Integrated Urban Commercial Vehicle (HIUCV) is a lightweight Heavy Goods Vehicle designed for refuse collection in an urban environment. Fuel efficient, highly manoeuvrable and quiet, the HiUCV is targeted to halve the overall carbon emissions per tonne of waste collected of current best-in-class Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCVs) in the urban environment. This will be achieved through exploiting innovative British technologies in the supply chain partners.

The HIUCV will be designed to significantly exceed legislative and Government requirements for greener vehicles. This project will produce a demonstrator for a commercially viable, highly competitive, improved performance RCV for urban use with a high percentage of UK sourced technology and components.

Media contact at lead company

Ron Bennett,, 01926 316000

· VIPER - Vehicle Integrated Powertrain Energy Recovery

Consortium members

Jaguar Land Rover (lead company), Ford Motor Company, IAV (UK), CPT, BP, University of Nottingham, Imperial College London

Project Description

VIPER – Vehicle Integrated Powertrain Energy Recovery – will show how a reduction in CO 2 emissions of 4.5% could be achieved over a broad range of new vehicles by optimising control of heat energy, in today's conventional vehicles. The suppliers in the VIPER project will develop new technologies to harness, manage and store the heat energy and integrate these into a practical demonstrator with two of the biggest vehicle manufacturers in the UK. A prototype Land Rover vehicle will demonstrate the benefits of the suppliers' technology on CO 2 emissions. The academic expertise in computational and experimental techniques will combine with engineering service suppliers to develop new efficient methods for the optimisation of future vehicles. The VIPER technologies could be applied to the majority of new vehicles before the turn of the decade.

Media contact at lead company

Nicola Rzeznik,, 07736 912266

· Evolution of REEV Technologies – Building a UK Supply Base (REEVolution)

Consortium members

Jaguar Land Rover (lead company), Lotus Cars Ltd, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd, EVO Electric Ltd, Xtrac Ltd, Think Global, Axeon Ltd

Project Description

The project aims to deliver range extended electric vehicle (REEV) products while developing four fledgling UK suppliers of novel ultra low carbon (ULC) technologies, through working with three major UK vehicle manufacturers and a world-leading engineering consultancy. The consortium companies will collaborate over the next three years to develop advanced electric powertrains and a greater understanding of the commercial requirements needed for high performance electric and range extended electric vehicles. The work will accelerate the development of new technologies and key commodities whilst laying the foundations for a globally competitive supply base.

The REEVolution programme is the next phase of a previously successful project led by Jaguar Land Rover called Limo Green, a series hybrid range extended electric Jaguar XJ, which was part funded by the Technology Strategy Board. It is expected that the REEVolution project will deliver a 70% - 75% CO 2 emission reduction through implementation of this technology into three very different currently best in class vehicle applications.

Media contact at lead company

Nicola Rzeznik,, 07736 912266

· Lightweight Ultra Low Emissions Delivery Van

Consortium members

Intelligent Energy (lead company), Revolve, Caparo

Project Description

This project will deliver two prototype lightweight electric vans, with diesel range extender. T he van design and driver ergonomics will be specifically configured to meet the requirements of commercial vehicle fleet operators such as Royal Mail and DHL (both of whom have already provided initial input to the project).

The project consortium combines 'best of British' automotive design, engineering and development technology and will utilise the UK’s vehicle centric technologies and supply networks. It brings significant UK based supplier involvement and taps UK expertise and innovation. The consortium will also leverage the best of British technology from Ricardo, Lotus and EVO electric motors plus other technology SME’s.

This project will provide the opportunity to develop a new UK based manufacturing operation producing 10,000 lightweight electric vans a year from 2014, potentially creating 500 manufacturing jobs. Additional jobs will be created in the UK supply chain at each of the tier 1 technology suppliers who will be providing components and sub assembled parts for production.

A hydrogen fuel cell version of the van is due to be launched in 2017. This will reduce tailpipe CO 2 emissions from 70g/km to zero.

Media contact at lead company

Andrew Tempest,, 01509 271 271

· CREO - CO2 Reduction through Emissions Optimisation

Consortium members

Ford Motor Company Ltd (lead company), Jaguar Land Rover, Johnson Matthey Plc, ITM Power (Trading) Ltd, Revolve Technologies Ltd, Cambustion Ltd, University of Bradford, University of Liverpool, University of Birmingham.

Project Description

For vehicles to have minimal impact on air quality, catalytic converters have been fitted to modern engines. Although great strides have been made to improve the fuel economy of vehicles there is still an impact of about 4% due to the emissions control system. This project aims to re-design the engine and after-treatment as a complete system, meeting legislative, customer and business requirements while minimising CO2 levels. This will be achieved through the use of novel after-treatment techniques, the on-board generation and use of hydrogen and the development and application of new optimisation tools.

The major contributors to this project are Ford Motor Company, which manufactures about 2 million engines per year in the UK, Jaguar Land Rover, which installs engines supplied by Ford, and Johnson Matthey, which provides many of the catalytic converters fitted into these engines. The potential UK supply chain is enhanced with the inclusion of ITM who will provide specialist equipment during the project. Three vehicles will be built to demonstrate the potential of the technology – petrol and diesel cars and a diesel hybrid bus. The target is a 4% improvement in CO2 by 2015 potentially rising to 15% by 2025.

Media contact at lead company

Brian Bennett,, 01277-252957

· Aluminium Matrix Composite Materials for Vehicle Weight Reduction (AluMatCom)

Consortium members

Jaguar Cars Ltd (lead company), Composite Metal Technology Ltd, Textile Centre of Excellence, Antich & Sons (Huddersfield) Ltd

Project Description

AluMatCom is a project to investigate the potential for use of reinforcing fibres in cast aluminum components to provide a material that has the potential to give the strength & stiffness of steel with the weight of aluminium. The project will bring together leading players in the weaving (Antich and Textile CoE), casting (Composite Metal Technology), and automotive industries (Jaguar Land Rover) with input from the AMRC, University of Sheffield.

Lighter vehicles require less energy (and emit less CO2) making aluminium matrix composites (AMCs) especially attractive to a premium vehicle manufacturers. AMCs have wide potential in vehicles and the objective of this project is to prove engineering, manufacturing & commercial feasibility of the materials, enabling Jaguar and Land Rover to make further gains in the environmental performance of their products.

Media contact at lead company

Nicola Rzeznik,, 07736 912266

Press Enquires: 020 7944 3066 Out of Hours: 020 7944 4292 Public Enquiries: 0300 330 3000 Department for Transport Website:


DfT Press Office - Local Transport
Phone: 020 7944 3066

DfT Press Office - Roads
Phone: 020 7944 3066