Transitioning towards Zero Emission Vehicles : CR&D

Key Features

UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £7 million, to develop on-vehicle solutions that address challenges associated with the transition to zero emission vehicles. Funding is from Office Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £7 million

Opens: 15th Mar 2021

Closes: 21st Apr 2021

! This scheme is now closed


The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), (formerly Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV)) are investing up to £17 million in support of solutions that address challenges associated with the uptake of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) in this programme.


The aim of this competition is to fund innovative on-vehicle solutions that support the transition to zero emission vehicles (ZEV) in line with the Government’s transport decarbonisation ambitions.

Your project must offer a solution that addresses one or more of the challenges associated with increasing the uptake in zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), including:

  • improve ZEV range capability
  • increase adoption of small commercial ZEVs
  • support transition to zero emission for special use vehicles
  • improve ZEV user experience
  • improve sustainability of ZEV

Projects must:

  • develop on-vehicle technologies that deliver zero tailpipe emissions, speeding up their introduction to the market
  • justify how the technology improves overall vehicle efficiency and lifecycle CO2 emissions
  • validate the technology in a relevant environment, for example through a development mule or adapted current production vehicle for higher maturity technologies
  • where applicable, define appropriate representative real-world operating conditions, and a suitable comparator technology or vehicle against which the project will measure the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) baseline and improvements
  • deliver zero emission vehicles technologies at a lower cost than today without compromising their safety or capability
  • provide evidence that the durability, integrity, and safety of any technology proposed is in line with industry and consumer expectations
  • show that you can realistically produce the technology at a price the market is willing to pay when commercialising
  • show how the future supply chain will be developed.
  • consider approach to manufacturing including at the target scale and using advanced approaches
  • show a clear route to market including appropriate business models to exploit the technology commercially
  • show a reduction of the environmental impact of the technology including resource efficiency and end of life options such as recycling, remanufacturing or reuse
  • identify an appropriate end customer(s) or route to commercialisation

Technology transfer projects from other transport or energy sectors are welcome.

Projects can cover both niche and mainstream on-road vehicles under 3.5tonnes in categories L (mopeds and motorcycles only), M (passenger) and N (goods). Special use vehicles such as emergency vehicles (e.g. ambulances and fire engines), refuse collection vehicles, and recreational vehicles (e.g. motorhomes) will also be in scope.

Specific Themes

Your application must focus on at least one of the following challenges.

You must clearly identify the primary challenge for assessment purposes. Your solution can cover several challenges but will be assessed against the primary challenge selected.

Examples of each challenge are in ‘Supporting information’.

Challenge 1 – Improve ZEV range capability

Advances in zero emission on-vehicle technologies to improve EV range anxiety by enabling increased vehicle range, efficiency or capability.

Challenge 2 – Increase adoption of small commercial ZEVs

Tackling on vehicle technological challenges associated with under 3.5tonne commercial vehicles, including fleets, to improve operational performance or total cost of ownership.

Challenge 3 – Support transition to zero emission for special use vehicles

Technological solutions for special use vehicles, such as emergency vehicles, which are technically challenging but need to make the transition to zero.

Challenge 4 –Improve ZEV user experience

Technologies which improve ZEV user experience by for example improving mobility, road-side recovery or their use in a recreational setting.

Challenge 5 –Improve sustainability of ZEVs

Solutions that enable battery recycling facilities.


Innovate UK are not funding:

  • projects that do not respond to one of the 5 specific challenges
  • projects which primarily focus on maritime, rail or aviation sector
  • projects that focus purely on battery development or PEMD supply chain
  • internal combustion engine projects
  • projects which address challenges with hybrid vehicles which include a non- zero emission propulsion
  • personal mobility scooters or similar
  • off-highway lightweight 4×4 or recreational vehicles such as buggies and quads.
  • factory based vehicles, including forklift trucks
  • military vehicles
  • business as usual projects
  • zero carbon fuels or their combustion
  • projects for on-highway and off-highway vehicles category N (> 3.5tonnes) and O (trailers for HGVs), T (agricultural), G (off-road) vehicles
  • projects dependent on export performance
  • projects dependent on domestic inputs usage


Your project must:

  • have total eligible costs from £300,000 and £600,000
  • start by 1 Aug 2021
  • end by 31 March 2022
  • last up to 8 months

Innovate UK will not approve project extensions beyond 31 March 2022. You can only claim funding for project costs incurred up to 31 March 2022.

Lead organisation

To lead a project or work alone your organisation must:

  • be a UK registered business of any size
  • carry out its project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from or in the UK

Academic institutions and RTOs cannot lead or work alone.

To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must:

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

Academic institutions must have their research team ready to start at the beginning of the project.

The maximum number of organisations allowed in a consortium in this competition is 3, including the lead. This maximum number includes non-grant claiming partners, but not subcontractors.

Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.

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

Innovate UK will not award you funding if you have:

  • failed to exploit a previously funded project
  • an overdue independent accountant’s report
  • failed to comply with grant terms and conditions


Innovate UK have allocated up to £7 million to fund innovation projects in this competition.

This competition includes two strands:

  • feasibility studies
  • collaborative R&D (this strand)

For this strand, collaborative R&D, up to £6 million has been allocated. Innovate UK will use a portfolio approach and reserves the right to move some of this funding to the feasibility studies strand.

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 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