SBRI Zero emission road freight, supporting uptake of battery electric trucks

Key Features

Organisations can apply for a share of £10 million, inclusive of VAT, to provide an innovative solution to enable fleets to switch to battery electric trucks.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of £10 million

Opens: 22nd Mar 2021

Closes: 21st Apr 2021

! This scheme is now closed


This is a SBRI competition funded by the Department for Transport and delivered by Innovate UK. It forms part of a £20 million managed programme supporting the transition to zero emission trucks in the UK.

The aim of the competition is to develop an interactive solution to de-risk, aid and encourage fleet operators to convert to battery electric vehicles.

The solution will be used by public and private fleet operators to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and deployment options around commercially available zero emission trucks.

The solution will also identify the needs and challenges around critical supporting infrastructure, vehicle charging and fleet management.

This is phase 1 of a potential 2-phase competition.

The phase 1 project must include data evaluation, test and demonstration involving a minimum of ten battery electric trucks.

The vehicles must be:

  • between 16 and 29 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW)
  • in service with the public sector lead customer that is supporting this activity

The purpose of field testing in a real-world, real-time logistics environment is to improve and validate the approach.

Battery electric trucks must be used where logistics operations would otherwise be using conventionally powered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The demonstration will act as a case study for others.

Data collected during the project should feed into and validate the identified outputs.


The aim of this competition is to develop one or more innovative, interactive solutions to support the uptake of battery electric trucks. You must identify the costs and considerations around deploying commercially available zero emission trucks. The solution must focus on using battery electric trucks for public and private sector fleet operations.

Your proposal

You must demonstrate a credible and practical route to market for your innovative interactive solution. Your proposal must include a plan to commercialise your results and demonstrate how it will be of value to the public sector.

Your project

You must create a solution which helps users to understand the strengths and weaknesses of deploying commercially available battery electric zero emission trucks.

Your solution must be an interactive solution which helps users:

  • gain an understanding of the economic and practical feasibility of the technology
  • de-risk, aid and encourage fleet operators to convert to battery electric vehicles

Your solution must provide information to help users make decisions about:

  • how to identify an appropriate technical specification for battery electric trucks
  • the ‘total cost of ownership’ approach and financing
  • how operations and duty cycles might influence vehicle selection
  • what to expect in terms of vehicle use and system performance
  • what critical supporting infrastructure is required to support a fleet, including costs
  • options for vehicle charging, including the use of rapid charging which would enable trucks to routinely operate in excess of their rated range
  • training requirements for organisations
  • electric vehicle specific aspects of fleet management, repair, and maintenance

This list is not exhaustive.

To make sure the solution is credible, it must be based on learning and data captured from long-term field testing. This must be where goods or freight are moved to satisfy an existing UK public sector logistics requirement which would otherwise use conventionally powered HGVs.

The field testing and demonstration can include trucks with varying specifications but must:

  • be capable of ultra-rapid charging (≥100kW)
  • have an estimated single charge range of more than 90 miles or 140 kilometres
  • have a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 16 to 29 tonnes.

Data sharing

Successful projects must provide data to Innovate UK and the Department for Transport.

Research Categories

Phase 1: Development, deployment, test and evaluation (this phase)

This can include producing the innovative interactive solution, setting up and undertaking field testing with your UK public sector partner, and using learning and data gained to ensure that your solution is reliable and accurate in a real-world real-time logistics environment.

Phase 2: Further field testing and evaluation
This can include further piloting, testing and validation of new or improved solutions in real life operating conditions. Costs awarded to successful projects will be limited to the supply of R&D services to capture and validate the interactive solution through an extended trial.



Innovate UK will not fund projects that cover:

  • commercial development activities such as quantity production
  • supply to establish commercial viability or to recover R&D costs
  • integration, customisation or incremental adaptations and improvements to existing products or processes
  • generation of a tool or model with an excessive software focus, including where the intent is to produce an app, or model hypothetical scenarios
  • demonstrations which use hybrid or range extender technology, or any other technology which produces tailpipe emissions.
  • demonstrations which use hydrogen fuel cell vehicles or hydrogen internal combustion vehicles.
  • projects which focus on niche vehicle applications such as refuse collection or gritter trucks


Projects must:

  • start by 1 July 2021
  • end by 31 March 2022
  • can last up to 10 months for phase 1

To lead a project, you must:

  • be an organisation of any size
  • work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors
  • be able to provide or obtain access to suitable battery electric trucks to meet the real time logistics demands of a UK public sector fleet operator
  • obtain and submit a letter of support from a UK public sector fleet operator

The public sector body must indicate that it is committed to actively support the development of an interactive solution and undertake a demonstrator trial of at least 10 vehicles along with installation of critical supporting infrastructure on its premises.

Contracts will be awarded to single legal entities only.

If you can justify subcontracting components of the work, you can employ specialist consultants or advisers. This work will still be the responsibility of the main contractor.

Subject to funding, the Department for Transport may choose to follow phase 1 with support for an extended data collection and demonstration activity for 12 months in phase 2.

Funding Costs

A total of up to £10 million, inclusive of VAT, is allocated to this competition.

R&D contracts will be up to £10 million, inclusive of VAT, for each project for up to 10 months. The Department for Transport expects to fund up to 3 projects.

The total funding available for the competition can change. The funders have the right to adjust the provisional funding for the competition.

The contract is completed at the end of the first phase. Any successful organisation is expected to pursue commercialisation of their solution.

Research and development

Your application must have at least 50% of the contract value attributed directly and exclusively to R&D services, including solution exploration and design. R&D can also include prototyping and field-testing the product or service.

You can include the results of your exploration and design and demonstrate that you can produce in quantity to acceptable quality standards.