APC25: Industrialising net zero automotive technology

Key Features

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £25 million for late-stage R&D projects that help accelerate the UK towards a net zero automotive future.

Programme:     APC

Award:     Share of up to £25 million

Opens: 15th Jan 2024

Closes: 13th Mar 2024

! This scheme is closing soon

Overview

The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) collaborates with UK government, the automotive industry and academia, to accelerate the industrialisation of technologies, digital optimisation and manufacturing processes. These processes support the UK’s transition to a net zero automotive industry.

With APC’s in depth knowledge and expertise in new propulsion technologies, their role in building and advising projects will support them to start quickly. Projects supported will deliver increased value, safeguard skilled jobs and keep the UK competitive.

We are working to drive innovation and encourage collaboration to build the foundations for a successful and sustainable UK automotive value and supply chain.

Scope

The aim of this competition is for collaborative R&D projects that design, develop and manufacture technology. These proposals will work towards delivering net-zero on-vehicle technologies for on-road or off-road vehicles, including 2 wheelers.

Your project must:

  • contribute to the UK’s strategic aims and direction of travel towards net zero transport vision, such as the Automotive Council’s Roadmaps
  • deliver on-vehicle technologies or associated manufacturing processes which support the transition to net zero
  • support growth, transition and security of the UK’s automotive supply chain, increasing capability, whilst improving productivity, efficiency and competitiveness
  • support, through traditional or digitally enabled methods; UK R&D scale-up or commercialisation, decarbonisation of technology design, development, optimisation and production of sub-systems, vehicle systems, delivery of innovation value

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

  • energy storage batteries, their components, management and integration systems
  • fuel cell and associated balance of plant
  • electric machines
  • power electronics
  • fossil fuel free (at the point of use) internal combustion (in the case of on-road solutions, we will support project proposals which aim to achieve zero harmful tailpipe emissions)
  • lightweighting materials, methods and processes
  • hydrogen storage and management systems
  • design for circular economy, including the disassembly, recovery, and reuse of materials used in the project technologies
  • digitalisation of design for manufacture and recycling, development of low carbon vehicle innovation, manufacture of vehicle systems and sub-systems, data analytics, redesign, test and validation and verification

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 or reskilling of workforce
  • automotive supply chain in the UK (upstream, mid-stream and downstream)
  • lifetime environmental impact of the vehicle and circular economy models

Your proposal must evidence:

  • a clear route to market exploitation, that can be evidenced, including intellectual property (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
  • a demonstration of the outcomes by all partners, the costs can be claimed only if conducted before the end of the project duration

You are encouraged to disseminate your results to bring benefit to the wider UK automotive industry.

Portfolio approach
We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories.

Specific Themes

You must consider which of the technologies listed below best represent your project. If you are using multiple technologies, rank them in order of their significance and impact to your project. The one ranked first must be the lead technology:

  • electric machines and power electronics
  • energy storage and energy management
  • lightweight vehicles and powertrain structures
  • fuel cell and associated balance of plant
  • thermal propulsion systems and alternative fuels
  • digitalisation for development of low carbon vehicle innovation, data analytics, redesign, test and validation and verification

Your lead technology must have a significance and impact ranking of at least 50%. You can also rank up to an additional two supporting technologies that can have a maximum of 25% each.

Your percentages must add up to 100%.

Eligibility

Your project must:

  • have a grant funding request between £2.5 million and £20 million
  • be a minimum of 50% match funded
  • start on 1 November 2024
  • last between 18 and 36 months
  • carry out all of its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Projects must always start on the first of the month and this must be stated within your application. Your project start date will be reflected in your grant offer letter if you are successful.

You must only include eligible project costs in your application.

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

Lead organisation

To lead a project your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • collaborate with other UK registered organisations
  • be or involve at least one grant claiming micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME)
  • be a grant recipient

More information on the different types of organisation can be found in our Funding rules.

Academic institutions and research organisations cannot lead.

Project team

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be a UK registered:

  • business of any size
  • academic institution
  • charity
  • not for profit
  • public sector organisation
  • research and technology organisation (RTO)

Non UK registered businesses and research organisations are only eligible to apply for funding if:

  • an active UK registered business is set up where the funded project work will be carried out
  • evidence is provided of an intention to expand the R&D activity in the UK during and after the project

A company registration number starting with a FC or BR is not considered as a UK registered business and not eligible to apply for funding.

Each partner organisation must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the lead to collaborate on a project. Once partners have accepted the invitation, they will be asked to login or to create an account in the Innovation Funding Service. They are responsible for entering their own project costs in the application.

To be an eligible collaboration, the lead and at least one other organisation must apply for funding when entering their costs into the application.

Non-funded partners

Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs must be entered in the finance section of the application and will count towards the total project costs.

Subcontractors

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.

You must provide a detailed rationale, evidence of the potential UK contractors you approached and the reasons why they were unable to work with you. We will not accept a cheaper cost as a sufficient reason to use an overseas subcontractor.

All subcontractor costs must be justified and appropriate to the total project costs.

Number of applications

There is no limit on the number of applications an organisation can be involved in.

You can use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

Exclusions

APC are not funding projects that are:

  • only focussed on the development of clean fuels
  • not aligned with the UK net-zero research innovations framework
  • requesting more than 50% grant for total project costs
  • developing either e-Scooters or e-Bikes

APC cannot fund projects that are:

  • dependent on export performance, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it exports a certain quantity of bread to another country
  • dependent on domestic inputs usage, for example giving a subsidy to a baker on the condition that it uses 50% UK flour in their product

Funding Costs

Up to £25 million has been allocated by APC to fund innovation projects in this competition. Funding will be in the form of a grant.

The UK government invests up to £75 million per annum through the APC, in collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects.

These are pre-production projects and you must apply for the minimum amount of APC funding required to make your project viable.

Your total grant funding request must be no more than £20 million and no more than 50% of your total project costs. This is regardless of your individual partners’ grant claims.

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

If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.

For industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 60% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 50% if you are a large organisation

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are a micro or small organisation
  • up to 35% if you are a medium sized organisation
  • up to 25% if you are a large organisation

Research participation

The research organisations undertaking non-economic activity as part of the project can share up to 30% of the total eligible project costs. If your consortium contains more than one research organisation undertaking non-economic activity, this maximum is shared between them. Of that 30% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
  • 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation

Advanced Propulsion Centre levy

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

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.