Government puts £42m into car battery tech

BEIS funds four research projects to develop energy storage for electric vehicles. 

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£42m of government funding has been made available to four different energy storage research projects, each led by a different academic institution, to make progress on the battery conundrum faced by the electric vehicle industry.

A recent report by McKinsey & Company into electric vehicle design found that it has not yet been possible to identify which of the technologies currently used in electric vehicles is best placed to power this change in the car market. Battery technology is integral to the adoption of electric vehicles across the UK, and more research is required to make the rollout a reality in the near future.

Business Minister Richard Harrington said, “With 200,000 electric vehicles set to be on UK roads by the end of 2018 and worldwide sales growing by 45 per cent in 2016, investment in car batteries is a massive opportunity for Britain and one that is estimated to be worth £5 billion by 2025.”

“Government investment in the projects announced today will deliver valuable research that will help us seize the economic opportunities presented by battery technology and our transition to a low-carbon economy.”

The funds will be allocated through the Faraday Institution, set up as part of the wider government investment of £246m in battery technology. The following four projects will each receive a chunk of the investment:

  • Extending battery life, led by the University of Cambridge
  • Battery system modelling, led by Imperial College
  • Recycling and reuse, led by the University of Birmingham
  • Developing the next generation of solid-state batteries, led by the University of Oxford

Peter Littlewood, founding executive chair of the Faraday Institution, said “To deliver the much needed improvement in air quality in our cities and achieve our aspiration for cleaner energy targets we need to shift to electric vehicles quickly. These research programmes will help the UK achieve this.”

Augusta Riddy is a Special Projects Writer at the New Statesman.