Zero emission vehicles
The UK is leading the charge on zero emission vehicles.
The Transitioning to zero emission cars and vans: 2035 delivery plan states the UK’s aim to be the fastest G7 nation to decarbonise vehicles. Petrol, diesel car and van sales will be phased out and all new cars and vans must be fully zero emission at the tailpipe by 2035.
With a £2.8 billion package to support the phase out dates, this ambitious plan will accelerate demand for zero emission vehicles.
Opportunities to invest in now
Accelerated Electrification Transition in the North East of England
Home to the UK’s first gigafactory, the country’s largest car plant and the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the North East of England is transitioning to carbon neutrality at pace. Significant opportunities for investment exist across the supply chain for EVs, battery technologies and innovative materials recycling.
Connected and Immersive Technologies for Future Mobility in Coventry and Warwickshire
Vehicles are becoming increasingly driven by software, creating fresh demand for businesses with capability in cyber security, data and AI, immersive and AR/ VR tech, and gamification. These enabling technologies are essential in the development of new vehicles and across onboard user experience, security, connectivity and shared services.
There are significant investment opportunities across the UK supply chain. Areas of expansion include:
- lithium-ion batteries
- lithium iron phosphate batteries
- nickel-metal hydride batteries
- lead-acid batteries (including raw materials mining)
Power electronics, machines and drives
- inverters, converters and on-board chargers to convert and control electric power in Electric Vehicles (EVs)
- battery management systems (BMS)
- rare earth magnets used in hybrid and electric vehicles
- non-rare earth magnets
- Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)
- hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS)
- hydrogen-powered HGVs and buses
- hydrogen fuel-cells
- hydrogen storage tanks
- magnesium, carbon fibre composites
- aluminium and matrix composites
- glass fibre composites and high-strength steel
- ultra-fast charging stations
- DC charging connectors
- wireless charging
- V2G charging
- roadside charging
- solar roofs
The UK is one of the top 10 countries in the world for electric vehicle growth and penetration rates. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported that sales of battery and plug-in hybrid vehicles reached 10.7% of total vehicle sales in 2020.
Charging infrastructure is also speeding ahead: the UK ranks fourth in Europe for the number of AC and DC charging installations.
UK battery manufacturing capability is also expected to grow: 2 battery gigafactories have already been announced for Northumberland, and the UK is keen to secure further investment.
Annual sales of new battery electric vehicles are forecast to reach 2.5 million each year in the UK by 2030. Analysis from Deloitte suggests that between £8 billion to £18 billion investment will be required in the EV charge point infrastructure.
Key UK assets
The UK has regional clusters with strengths across the zero-emission vehicle supply chain.
A centre for the automotive industry and home to the Manufacturing Technology Centre, the National Transport Design Centre, the National Automotive Innovation Centre and Energy Research Accelerator.
Home to Vale Nickel Refinery in Swansea, which produces high-purity nickel and subproducts for specialist areas. The work of Newport’s National Compound Semiconductor Applications Catapult has potentially significant implications for the EV automotive industry.
Some of the world’s largest automotive original equipment manufacturers, including Nissan and Komatsu, are in the region alongside a global chain of tier-1 suppliers and specialist SMEs.
The North East is home to Europe’s first battery production facility, Envision AESC.
This is a region of thriving engineering and automotive industry and expertise, with assets such as the Energy Lab at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and the Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre.
Oxford-Cambridge Arc and Motorsport Valley®
Oxford is home to the Harwell Campus Energytec Cluster and Faraday Institution. The area is also known as Motorsport Valley, the epicentre of Formula 1 petrol/electric hybrid engine development, and the home of Formula E fully electric racing.
The UK government’s Road to Zero Strategy outlines several ambitious measures to support the transition to zero emission vehicles including:
Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) – £500 million thus far released of up to £1 billion of funding to invest in capital and R&D projects to build an internationally competitive electric vehicle supply chain.
Faraday Battery Challenge – £318 million to put the UK at the forefront of the design, development, manufacturing, and recycling of electric batteries.
Driving the Electric Revolution (DER) – £80 million programme for capability and growth of the Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD) supply chain in the UK.
Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund – £400 million fund to help accelerate the roll-out of charging infrastructure
R&D assets also include:
- the Advanced Propulsion Centre (and associated Spoke Network)
- 7 centres of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult
- the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC)
- the Centre for Process Innovation
Business and government support
The UK supports innovation and investment through various schemes, including R&D Tax Relief, Patent Box and Innovate UK Grants.
The automotive roadmap outlines government commitments to decarbonise road transport and enable the automotive sector transition to zero emission vehicles. It covers government policies around 6 key areas: supply chain and manufacturing, infrastructure, energy, jobs and skills, regulation and affordability.
Support for the clean economy transition comes through the Transport Decarbonisation Plan, the Green Paper on a New Road Vehicle CO2 Emissions Regulatory Framework, 2035 Delivery Plan and Clean Air Zones.
YASA manufactures electric motors for automotive and aerospace. It can deliver up to 100,000 ‘off-the-shelf’ or customised EV motors and controllers from its Oxford production facility with a unique, patented motor technology.
In 2019, YASA and Ferrari announced that a custom 14kW/kg motor would power the new SF90 Stradale resulting in the marque’s first-ever hybrid series production sports car.
Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover has reduced global manufacturing CO2 per vehicle by 46%. The company built the Jaguar XE with 75% recycled aluminium. Its REALITY consortium recovers aluminium from scrapped Jaguar Land Rover cars to turn into high-quality material for new vehicles.
It’s also developing a recycling process, using less primary aluminium to form a new alloy comparable to existing grades, reducing CO2 emissions by up to 26%.
Ilika plc pioneers EV solid-state battery technology, for applications in medtech, industrial internet of things, aerospace and consumer electronics.
A grant from Innovate UK’s Faraday Battery Challenge supported a project that has the potential to transform the performance and safety of electric vehicles. This produced its Goliath cells. Fast charging, longer life and non-inflammable, they are easier to handle than current technology.