Innovative Charging Competition

Key Features

The Niche Vehicle “EV Challenge” Innovative Charging Competition 2021 provides a platform for collaborative research and development in the area of innovative charging solutions for electric vehicles within the UK niche vehicle sector.

Programme:     Niche Vehicle Network

Award:     Up to £105,000

Opens: 15th Mar 2021

Closes: 15th Apr 2021

! This scheme is now closed


The Competition is open to organisations active in design and manufacture of off board electric vehicle charging equipment in the UK, who wish to collaborate on innovative, industry-led projects. The aim of this competition stream is to develop innovative charging solutions for niche electric vehicles in order to promote increased take-up.


Projects will need to demonstrate innovation beyond business as usual through the accelerated development of electric vehicle charging solutions that are directly applicable to on-road, zero emission niche electric vehicles. Projects should demonstrate innovative hardware charging solutions for:

  • Increased access & functionality
  • Improving user experience
  • Improving EV charging opportunities for fleet vehicles
  • Specific operational needs of special purpose vehicles

Funding is restricted to off board charging technologies applicable to powered, wheeled road-going zero emission UK niche vehicles. A niche vehicle manufacturer is defined as an independent UK based vehicle manufacturer producing less than 10,000 vehicles per year. Projects must be industry led, aiming to support the growth, productivity and competitiveness of the UK niche vehicle sector. The programme therefore focuses on technologies applicable to low-volume UK production.

Projects must be collaborative and industry-led by an SME. The competition is aimed primarily at SMEs, but it is permissible to include two large companies or other large organisations (such as a University or RTO) in each consortium.

Funding Eligibility

In Scope

Off board electric vehicle hardware charging solutions with applicability to the following on-road, zero emission niche vehicles:

  • Up to 3.5T GVW = E-bikes, e-trikes, e-scooters, e-micro mobility, motorcycles, last mile delivery, taxis, cars, light commercial vehicles (LCV)
  • Over 3.5T GVW = Special purpose vehicles, mini-buses and municipal vehicles
  • Solutions to suit other niche vehicle types over 3.5T GVW may be considered by exception

Out of Scope

  • Charging solutions specifically for HGVs, buses, coaches, agricultural vehicles, driverless vehicles, PODs, dedicated motorsport and race vehicles
  • Bi-directional charging solutions for Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)
  • On board charging equipment, except where this is required to enable an off board charging solution.
  • Software and payment-based solutions, including app development

Ineligible Project Costs

The following costs are ineligible and should be excluded from any part of the project costs and any overhead calculations.

  • In field demonstration and installation costs
  • Input VAT
  • Interest charges, bad debts, profits, advertising, entertaining
  • Hire purchase interest and any associated service charges
  • Advertising and marketing costs/activities
  • Profit earned by a subsidiary of a project partner or by an affiliated company undertaking work subcontracted out under the project
  • Inflation and contingency allowances (as an overall arbitrary percentage) additional to eligible costs – however reasonable inflation rates can be included in labour and material cost estimates
  • The value of existing assets such as IPR, data, software programmes and other exploitable assets that any of the collaborators contribute towards the project
  • Project audit/legal fees – the legal costs of setting up the project or the collaboration and costs associated with conducting audits or making grant claims are ineligible
  • Royalties or payments to third parties associated with preparing project applications