APC24: Industrialising net-zero automotive technology
UK registered businesses can apply for a share of up to £2m for late stage R&D projects that help accelerate the UK towards a net zero automotive future.
Your project’s total grant funding request must be between £2.5 million and £20 million. Your project must be a minimum of 50% match-funded, with a suggested maximum number of six partners.
Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC)
The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) provides funding, support, insight and foresight for the development of low emission transport solutions, and automotive technologies. It aims to support the UK’s transition towards net zero product manufacturing and supply chain in the UK automotive sector.
In this competition round, APC is investing up to £20 million.
We are looking for collaborative, pre-production research and development (R&D) projects that:
- support the UK’s long-term vision and underpin capabilities by securing long term R&D investment
- achieve through the associated supply chain, the design, build, test and manufacture of net-zero carbon emission vehicles
Projects must look to fulfil both these criteria to ensure the UK meets the future demand of vehicle makers and users, strengthening UK’s global impact and, anchoring the value-add across the whole supply chain.
Your project must:
- have a total grant funding request of between £2.5 million and £20 million
- be a minimum of 50% match-funded
- start by 1 May 2024
- last between 18 and 36 months
- carry out all of its project work in the UK
- intend to exploit the results from or in the UK
To lead a project your organisation must:
- be a UK registered business of any size
- be or involve at least one UK registered micro or medium sized enterprise
- have an active registered business base in the UK
- be a grant recipient
- collaborate with other UK registered organisations
Academic institutions and research organisations cannot lead or work alone.
To collaborate with the lead, your organisation must be one of the following UK registered:
- business of any size
- academic institution
- not for profit
- public sector organisation
- research and technology organisation (RTO)
You must involve at least one grant claiming micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).
Non UK registered businesses and research organisations are only eligible to apply for funding if:
- they set up an active UK-registered business where the funded project work will be carried out
- they provide evidence of an intention to expand their R&D activity in the UK during and after the project
Your project can include partners that do not receive any of this competition’s funding, for example non-UK businesses. Their costs will count towards the total project costs.
Subcontractors are allowed in this competition.
Subcontractors can be from anywhere in the UK and you must select them through your usual procurement process.
You can use subcontractors from overseas but must make the case in your application as to why you could not use suppliers from the UK.
Number of applications
There is no limit on the number of applications an organisation can be involved in.
The UK government invests up to £75 million per annum through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC), in collaborative research and development (CR&D) projects.
These are pre-production projects and applicants should apply for the minimum amount of APC funding required to make the project viable. The total project grant request must be no more than £20 million and no more than 50% of your total project costs. This is regardless of the individual partners’ grant claims.
In this round APC is investing £20 million.
A minimum of 70% of your projects total project costs must be incurred by commercial organisations.
If your organisation’s work on the project is commercial or economic, your funding request must not exceed the limits below. These limits apply even if your organisation normally acts non-economically but for the purpose of this project will be undertaking commercial or economic activity.
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
For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance.
If you are applying for an award funded under State aid Regulations, the definitions are set out in the European Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003.
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% you could get funding for your eligible project costs of up to:
- 80% of full economic costs (FEC) if you are a Je-S registered institution such as an academic
- 100% of your project costs if you are an RTO, charity, not for profit organisation, public sector organisation or research organisation
Advanced Propulsion Centre levy
A 3.5% levy is payable to the APC by all partners on grant received.
The aim of this competition is to seek proposals for collaborative R&D projects that design, develop and manufacture technology that will work towards delivering net zero carbon emission on-vehicle technologies for on-road or off-road, including 2 wheelers.
Your project must:
- contribute to the UK’s strategic aims and direction of travel towards net zero transport vision, such as the Automotive Council’s Roadmaps
- deliver on-vehicle technologies and or associated manufacturing processes which support the transition to net zero
- support growth, transition and security of the UK’s automotive supply chain, increasing capability, whilst improving productivity, efficiency and competitiveness
- support a digitally enabled, or integrated, UK R&D scale up and commercialisation, to decarbonise technology design, development, optimisation and production for sub-systems, vehicle-system or transport ecosystem, to deliver innovation value-add
Your project must advance technologies in one or more of the following areas:
- energy storage, batteries, their components, management and integration systems
- fuel cell and associated balance of plant
- electric machines
- power electronics
- fossil fuel free (at the point of use) internal combustion (in the case of on-road solutions, we will support project proposals which aim to achieve zero harmful tailpipe emissions)
- hydrogen storage and management systems
- design for circular economy, including the disassembly, recovery, and reuse of materials used in the project technologies.
- digitalisation for vehicle development and design
The economic benefit of your project will be assessed on criteria including but not limited to:
- scale and impact on the UK economy
- foreign investment anchored in the UK
- jobs created or safeguarded
- upskilling or reskilling of workforce
- automotive supply chain in the UK (upstream, mid-stream and downstream)
- lifetime environmental impact of the vehicle and circular economy models
Your proposal must evidence:
- a clear route to market exploitation, that can be evidenced, including IP generated for the UK
- a credible consortium-led approach to the project, agreed in principle and able to proceed to a formal collaborative agreement
- what would happen should the project not be funded
Projects will be encouraged to disseminate their results to bring benefit to the wider UK automotive industry.
We want to fund a variety of projects across different technologies, markets, technological maturities and research categories. We call this a portfolio approach.
You must consider which of the technologies listed below best represent your project. If you are using multiple technologies, rank them in order of their significance and impact to your project. The one ranked first must be the lead technology:
- electric machines and power electronics
- energy storage and energy management
- lightweight vehicles and powertrain structures
- fuel cell and associated balance of plant
- thermal propulsion systems and alternative fuels
- digitalisation for development of low carbon vehicle innovation, data analytics, redesign, test and validation and verification
Your lead technology must have a significance and impact ranking of at least 50%. You can also rank up to an additional two supporting technologies that can have a maximum of 25% each.
Your percentages must add up to 100%.
We will fund industrial research projects and experimental development projects, as defined in the guidance on categories of research.
Projects we will not fund
We are not funding projects that are:
- focussed only on the development of clean fuels
- not aligned with the UK’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution
- requesting more than 50% grant for total project costs
- developing either e-Scooters or e-Bikes
- 3 July 2023 – Competition opens
- 4 July 2023 – Online briefing event: Watch the recording
- 20 September 2023 11:00am – Competition closes
- 13 October 2023 – Invite to interview and Economic and Technical feedback issued
- 23 October 2023 – Response to Economic Feedback
- 30 October 2023 – Response to Technical feedback
- 1 November 2023 – Department for Business and Trade Value for Money discussion between 1 and 2 November 2023
- 8 November 2023 – Value for Money changes to be returned
- 9 November 2023 – Presentation and attendance of attendees
- 20 November 2023 – Interview panel between 20 and 23 November 2023
- 19 January 2024 – Applicants notified