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

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.

Opportunity Details


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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.


Innovate UK

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This is a Small Business Research Initiative (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 (as part of your application, you must obtain and submit a letter of support from a UK public sector fleet operator)

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.

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.

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.

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