Zero emission vehicles

The UK is leading the charge on zero emission vehicles.

The inner workings of an electric car

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 by 2030 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.

Opportunity highlights

There are significant investment opportunities across the UK supply chain. Areas of expansion include:

Battery technologies

  • 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)

Magnets

Rare earth magnets used in hybrid and electric vehicles

Hydrogen

  • Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs)
  • hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS)
  • hydrogen-powered HGVs and buses

Lightweight materials

  • magnesium, carbon fibre composites
  • aluminium and matrix composites
  • titanium
  • glass fibre composites and high-strength steel

Charging infrastructure

  • ultra-fast charging stations
  • DC charging connectors
  • wireless charging
  • V2G charging
  • roadside charging
  • solar roofs

Commercial maturity

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.

West Midlands

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.

Wales

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.

North East

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. Britishvolt will build the UK’s first electric battery gigafactory in Northumberland.

North West

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.

R&D capability

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.

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.

Case studies

YASA

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

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.

Britishvolt

Britishvolt’s mission is to deliver low-carbon, sustainable, responsibly manufactured battery cells to accelerate the transition to a net zero future, with a focus on powering electric vehicles.

Britishvolt’s advanced-manufacturing facility is based on the former coal stocking yard of the Blyth Power Station in Cambois, Northumberland. A true Phoenix from the flames, the site will house a 30GWh battery Gigaplant that is fully connected to the national grid and near to an abundance of renewable energy sources. It will create up to 3,000 direct skilled jobs and more in the associated supply chain.

Britishvolt actively collaborates with the likes of the Faraday Institution and Warwick Manufacturing Group (University of Warwick) to ensure technological advancements are at the forefront of their global battery technology revolution.