The UK government will invest £26.2 million into a BMW UK research project to develop an electric car battery that can offer a similar driving range to internal combustion engines as part of a funding programme into green automotive technology totalling £91.7m.
The BMW scheme, based at the firm's Oxford plant, is one of four projects that will receive government and industry funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre's Collaborative Research and Development competition. That programme is designed to support the development of innovative low-carbon automotive technology.
The APC is backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which said the four projects chosen are developing innovations that will "address motorists' concerns about adopting electric vehicles by cutting charge times and boosting driving range".
Speaking about the BMW-UK-BEV project, BMW Motorsport research and design boss Andreas Löhrke said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to collaborate with world-leading companies to develop high-tech battery technology. It strengthens our UK partner base and safeguards and extends our research and design centre.”
Birmingham-based Project Celeritas will receive £9.7m to create ultra-fast-charging batteries for electric and fuel cell hybrid vehicles that it claims can charge in as little as 12 minutes.
The largest amount of funding will go to Nuneaton firm Reecorner, which will receive £41.2m to "radically" redesign light and medium-sized commercial EVs in its hometown by moving the steering, braking, suspension and powertrain into the wheel arches. The company claims doing so will enable increased storage space and allow for greater autonomous capability.
Finally, £14.6m will go to The Brunel Project in Darlington, to develop a zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered engine for heavy goods vehicles.
APC boss Ian Constance said: "These projects tackle some really important challenges in the journey to net-zero road transport. They address range anxiety and cost, which can be a barrier to people making the switch to electric vehicles and they also provide potential solutions to the challenge of how we decarbonise public transport and the movement of goods."
The funding is the 18th round of investment that has been issued by the APC since it was founded in 2013. To date, 170 projects have received funding.