ATF: moving the UK automotive sector to zero emissions

Key Features

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £7 million for economic or technical feasibility studies to support scale up of the UK’s high-value electrified automotive supply chain.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £7 million

Opens: 7th Dec 2020

Closes: 27th Jan 2021

! This scheme is now closed


The Automotive Transformation Fund, delivered by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) and partners, Innovate UK, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for International Trade (DIT), will support the industrialisation at scale of a high-value electrified automotive supply chain in the UK.

APC is seeking proposals from single organisations or consortiums for feasibility studies up to the value of £1 million.


The aim of this competition is to support commercially led research and development in the design of elements of the electric automotive supply chain.

Projects must:

  • support the UK’s long-term growth aspirations for the supply chain and associated capabilities of the automotive market
  • support the overall aim of the Automotive Transformation Fund to establish a competitive and sustainable UK supply chain

Your project must meet at least one of the following objectives specifically for the automotive sector:

  1. The economic feasibility of developing large-scale manufacturing facilities in the UK. These must take up to 6 months to complete.
  2. The technical feasibility of developing advanced manufacturing processes or scaling up product manufacturing. These must take up to 12 months complete.

Your project must also fulfil at least one of these requirements:

  1. De-risk scaling up innovative technologies across the electric supply chain.
  2. Remove the technical or commercial barriers to manufacture in the UK.

Your project must prioritise the automotive sector, but this does not exclude subsequent secondary use in other sectors.

At the end of the feasibility study, your project must meet one of the following:

  • be ready to continue in future research and development or capital competitions
  • able to raise private sector investment to take the project outcome to market

Your project can address technological improvements or developing new business models. APC encourages projects that bring new investment into the sector in the UK.

You can either focus on one or more of the products below or on the materials and components that go into the product:

  • batteries
  • motors and drives
  • power electronics
  • fuel cell
  • recycling of any of the above


This competition is not funding:

  • projects which do not benefit the automotive sector as a primary focus
  • dedicated internal combustion engine projects
  • business-as-usual projects which maintain the status quo or do not demonstrate innovation
  • projects focusing primarily on use of digital or data technologies such as simulation or mapping
  • projects centring on pre-demonstration activities which would leave the technology far from being in a position to achieve product, process or facility scale up in the short – medium term
  • zero carbon fuels
  • vehicle charging
  • projects which do not meet the aim of the Automotive Transformation Fund


To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

Non-UK registered companies and research organisations are eligible to apply for funding as a lead or part of a project team if they:

  • set up an active UK registered business before they start their project
  • start their project on 1 April 2021
  • carry out all funded work in the UK
  • meet all other criteria stated above

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business, academic institution, charity, not-for-profit, public sector organisation, research and technology organisation (RTO) or a non-UK registered company or research organisation
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

If collaborative, the lead and at least one other organisation must claim funding by entering their costs during the application.

Funding Costs

As part of the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) has allocated up to £7 million to fund feasibility studies in this competition.

You must request the minimum amount of funding needed for your project.

If your organisation’s work on the project is mostly commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically.

For feasibility studies , 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

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%, research organisations in the consortium could get funding for their eligible project costs of up to:

  • 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if they are an academic institution
  • 100% of their eligible project costs if they are an RTO

A 3% levy is payable to the APC by all partners on grant received.